IT'S ALL FREE! Cyber Reputations

I periodically view pictures of semi-nude women and men committing lewd acts. No, I'm not kinky! So why am I looking at these types of photos and what do they have to do with legal nurse consulting?

I look at these photos as part of my investigation into the cyber reputations of parties in medical malpractice suits. A person's reputation on the internet gives you a peek into the character of that person. I know that if I have a certain reaction to a cyber reputation, chances are good that a jury will have the same reaction.

Juries relate well to people who are solid members of the community. Juries like to see photos of persons grilling burgers in funny aprons, serving as an officer in a local civic organization, and/or standing on the steps of their house of worship with their family. On the other hand, juries don't sympathize with people whose photos depict themselves as beer-chugging, drug-using, and/or in skimpy clothing. So whether you work for the plaintiff or the defense, it helps to find out the cyber reputation of your client and the opposing party. And  you'll look for  evidence that supports or refutes the allegation in the malpractice suit, depending on whether you work for the plaintiff or the defense.  For example, if the lawsuit is about a botched plastic surgery, you'll look for comments and photos that substantiate or discredit that allegation.

Before we get started, though, let's talk a little about the ethics of gathering this kind of information. If the person you're investigating has posted information for the world to see, you're free to save it, share it, and/or print it. However, if the person designated their information as private, ethical considerations should prohibit you from further action, such as friending the person to gain access to his or her information. Let's also assume that we're gathering information from the internet and public profiles on social media sites, not doing the kind of paid background check that is commonly used in law firms. Many of those background checks provide factual information about vehicle registrations, past addresses and the like, but not necessarily comments and photos posted on the internet.

To find comments and photos posted on the internet, I use Google (both the Web and Images), Facebook, and Twitter as my primary ways to find an online presence.  There are hundreds of other social media sites so you may find other sites that yield useful information. 

Facebook requires you to create a free account before you can do a search. Once you've joined, you can search for the name you're looking for. Facebook users post comments and photos on the site in an area called a "wall".  The wall is a visible area; that means that you can save and print the information from it. On Twitter,  you can view the person's tweets (posts) to see if the person tweeted about anything pertinent to the medical malpractice suit.

You probably know how to do a basic internet search using Google to search the web. But did you know that you can use Google to search for photos too? In the upper right corner of Google's homepage, click on Images and then type in the person's name and any other identifying information. Sometimes people try to remove embarrassing information and photos from websites from websites. However, Google caches (pronounced "cashes") each of its webpages and photos. This means that Google takes a snapshot of each page on the web and stores it as a backup. Because of this, you can still access webpages and photos even after embarrassing information has been removed. 

By conducting some easy internet searches, you too can support your attorney's lawsuits by periodically viewing pictures of semi-nude women and men committing lewd acts!

...Katy Jones