The Death of Downtime – Never Ending Content and Evidence
With the rise of social networks that permit us to update the world on the details of our lives and smart-phones that allow access to email, social networks, and the internet 24/7, there is always something to do. Take a look around. On my drive into work there is always someone on a phone texting, emailing, or talking. Same thing when I am in line at a store or even at my daughter’s soccer game. The worst is when I’m in meetings and the “constant emailer” can’t put down their blackberry for 5 minutes. (Sometimes I’m the constant emailer.) There is no downtime.
I’ll leave the social commentary to those more qualified. But, from a legal perspective we are now creating a never-ending stream of written material that in many cases is archived a/k/a evidence. Email, social network posts, and other records can be used to recreate the details of a particular event or day. For example, if an employer has a general idea of when an employee began actively planning to establish a competing venture in violation of a non-compete, the discovery is endless. The employer now plaintiff can seek emails, Linked-in communications, Facebook posts and even phone records to trace the evolution of the competing business.
It seems as though we’re well past putting the brakes on 24/7 evidence creation through email and social media. But, everyone must be cognizant of what this means for business and employment disputes. Privacy, in many instances, is being abandoned by choice as we disclose our life’s details on the web.