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13 Minn. J.L. Sci. & Tech. 1 (2012)

handle is hein.journals/mipr13 and id is 1 raw text is: Articles

Writings on the Wall: The Need for an
Authorship-Centric Approach to the
Authentication of Social-Networking
Evidence
Ira P. Robbins*
Introduction       ......................................2
I.    Uses of Social-Networking Sites ................... 6
A. General Uses..............................6
B. Fake Accounts        ..................       ........... 8
C. Hacking and Identity Theft          .........    .......... 10
II.    Social-Networking Postings in Litigation .         .......... 13
III.  Authentication of Social-Networking Evidence............ 16
IV.    Critique of Judicial Approaches to Authentication of
Social-Networking Evidence                   ..................... 19
A. Punting Reliability Concerns to the Fact-Finder.....20
B. Relying on Recipient Testimony .....          .......... 22
C. Requiring Testimony About Potential Outside
Access to an Account....................22
D. From Establishing the Account Owner to
Establishing the Author of a Specific Posting .......... 24
© 2012 Ira P. Robbins
* Barnard T. Welsh Scholar and Professor of Law and Justice, American Uni-
versity, Washington College of Law. A.B. University of Pennsylvania; J.D.
Harvard University. I am grateful to my superb and indispensable research
assistants-Elizabeth Aniskevich, Dana Bucy, Kierstan Carlson, Jay Curran,
Giulia Di Marzo, Christin Helms, Kara Karlson, Tracey Little, Laura Peter-
son, Libby Ragan, and Amy Smith-who taught me a great deal more than I
ever taught them; to Andrew Robbins-the master guru of all things comput-
er- and Internet-related-for invaluable editorial suggestions, for keeping me
apprised of technological developments and of new ways to take over some-
one's identity on social-networking websites, and for steering me clear of unin-
tended pitfalls; and to the American University Law School Research Fund,
for providing summer financial support.

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