People called up for jury duty could soon see their private lives put under the microscope.That'll do for my chances of ever making a jury.
A new company is offering to vet potential jurors social media profiles, on sites including Facebook and Twitter.
Jury Selection Services is offering defence lawyers access to a person's digital footprint.
It includes all publicly available information such as financial status, personal relationships, debts and even religious affiliation.
Auckland law professor Bill Hodge says it could deter people from turning up for jury duty.
How far in advance do lawyers (and I'm guessing the information will be available to prosecuting lawyers also) know potential juror names? I had assumed it wasn't until they entered the court room and were available for challenge. Everybody over 18 (and on the electoral roll) is eligible for jury service, so does that mean the "new company" would have to possess the digital footprint of everyone that has one? That's a massive amount of information. To make the collection of it comercially viable, wouldn't the data be offered further afield than to just lawyers? Indeed, does the "new company" already exist under another guise?
Most importantly, would this ability to quickly access a digital footprint produce a panel better able to deliver a just decision? If the service is very expensive the course of justice could be perverted.