Big Brother is Watching

Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer on privacyNot long ago, I received a video-tape showing a client’s accident as it took place. The video came from a bank surveillance camera and was obtained by the police who investigated the accident.

The video wasn’t much help because it was shot from too far away to show who was at fault, but it proved what I have suspected for many years, that many of our actions are being recorded by security cameras without our knowledge or consent.

While hoping not to sound too paranoid, I actually assume that when I am in a commercial area, I am being recorded. Although I don’t change my behavior, this “invasion of privacy” has become a reality. Making matters worse, rarely does a day goes by that we don’t read about some company tracking our movements through our computers, GPS systems or cell phones, intentionally or not. Add to the list, the hackers who steal information, and the personal information that many of us intentionally put on the internet through networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., and you can begin to understand that our private lives are becoming more public every day!

Those who read my columns know that I advocate curtailing any discussions about your motorcycle accident, or any private matter, on the internet or through e-mail. As proof that I am not being overly cautious, some defense attorney’s are now requesting Facebook passwords in order to obtain information about Pennsylvania motorcycle accident victims. Whether the courts will allow this invasion of privacy, remains to be seen.

Additionally, employers and college admission boards are searching networking sites to learn more about potential candidates. Further, I recently read about attorneys who are Googling or Facebooking potential jurors right from the court room to learn more about them. No longer is justice blind, it’s now powered by Google!

The bottom line is, we have all become accustomed to putting personal information on the internet and in texts, e-mails, etc. – without thinking about the potential consequences. Therefore, my advice is simply – DO NOT PUT ANYTHING IN WRITING – BE IT IN A TEXT, E-MAIL or ON THE INTERNET, that you want kept private, because inevitably if some one looks hard enough – they may find these communications. If you want to discuss something sensitive… use the phone!

On another note, the PA Supreme Court recently decided in the case of AYERS v. GEICO that even if you insure your automobiles and motorcycles with the same insurance company and select the “stacking” option, if the insurer issues separate policies for each and the auto policy contains a “household vehicle exclusion”, you will not be able to stack your uninsured or underinsured.

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