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This article was published on March 19, 2012

Subpoenas to be served via Facebook and Twitter in Estonia

Subpoenas to be served via Facebook and Twitter  in Estonia
Jamillah Knowles
Story by

Jamillah Knowles

Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemi Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemimah_knight or drop a line to [email protected]

According to a report today from AFP, crime suspects may be contacted by a court using their email, Facebook or Twitter accounts. The message would contain a short link leading to court documents.

It’s a draft bill at the moment and a subpoena would only be delivered if the person receiving it clicks on the enclosed link. Then they would have to visit the official site that can be accessed with an electronic identification ID-card, one that is issued to all adult Estonians. Not quite frictionless then.

Justice ministry spokesman Priit Talv told AFP that court cases in Estonia take a long time because of the slow delivery method for documents. He also noted, “In addition to those criminal suspects who deliberately try to hide their mail or residence address there are many people whose address is either not registered or they travel a lot. Reaching people via electronic means is both cheaper and quicker.”

Digitally legal

The process of signing documents digitally is already becoming well practised, naturally, there’s an app for that. Evidence in divorce cases is also taking into account our social media activity. If you were considering insurance fraud, you might also want to re-arrange your social networking links as this too can be considered when investigating possible crime.

AFP quotes a study saying that, “65 percent of all Internet users in Estonia; a figure rising to 80 percent for those under 40, visit their Facebook account at least once a week.” If those figures are correct, then it is hardly surprising that this system makes sense as a way to contact people.

Though, unless you are following your local court on Twitter, it would also be a rather public way to be served your papers.

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