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NY Bar: Lawyers may comb social media for dirt

ALBANY — The New York Bar Association says it’s ethical for lawyers to comb social networking websites to collect damaging information on opposing parties in lawsuits.

The association says the explosion in the use of networks like Facebook and MySpace raises new legal questions about privacy rights.

Its Committee on Professional Ethics released an opinion Friday saying attorneys in litigation can access the public pages of another party’s site to get information about that person, as long as it’s accessible to all members of the network.

Citing a similar Philadelphia Bar Association opinion, the panel says lawyers can’t deceptively “friend” someone or ask someone else to do that to get otherwise private information.

The New York association has 77,000 members.