Subpoena to Google, Yahoo and others

As we field more calls on electronic discovery, recall that federal law prohibits electronic communication services from disclosing “contents of a communication” [18 USC § 2702] which most courts deem to be the text of the email or text message. Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Linkedln as well as email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail all fall in the this category.

A criminal subpoena may get you even the content of messages (and we get this material either from the electronic communication service providers -- or from the prosecutor) . However in a civil case, you can subpoena only basic information such as the name of the user of the account and other identifiers.

A court in Connecticut also explored a new avenue: divorcing parties may be ordered to exchange Facebook and dating site login and passwords.