Think before you send: photos and messages from chat apps can be used as evidence

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Photographs and messages obtained by individuals from chat apps can be used as evidence, the Supreme Court (SC) has said.

The CS underlined this in a decision which upheld the conviction of Christian Cadajas for violating the law against child pornography by convincing a 14-year-old girl in 2016 of his nude photos via Facebook Messenger.

In the ruling written by SC Judge Jhosep Lopez, the court said the 14-year-old girl, referred to as “AAA”, “cannot be said to have violated the petitioner’s right to privacy”.

“The ability to access these photos limited the scope of his right to privacy, especially as these became essential in pursuing AAA’s claims to protect his rights,” the CS said. .

The court noted that Cadajas claims he has the right to privacy as stipulated in the Constitution since “his Facebook Messenger account is protected so no one can access it except himself.”

“The petitioner has never claimed that his Facebook Messenger account was hacked or that the photos were taken from his account by unauthorized means,” the SC said.

“Rather, the photos were obtained from his account because AAA, to whom he gave his password, had access to them,” he pointed out.

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