Text Messages in Court Cases Bite Hands of Senders

Divorce attorney Heather Hostetter says a single text message sent in a fit of rage can wreak havoc in a child custody case. "We've seen e-mails used in court, and now we're beginning to see text messages," she says. "If taken out of context, a text message can make someone look like a real jerk."

Texting is a serious problem because of its flippant nature, says Hostetter, an attorney with the Maryland-based law firm Sachitano Strent and Hostetter. She's been able to convince her clients to let her preview e-mails before they're sent to ex-spouses but not text messages.

Too easily, rapid-fire thumbs type and send sensitive text messages much like ignorant words spout from mindless chatter. Unlike words, though, text messages are stored on servers and phones. These text messages can come back to bite you--hard. A salacious or hurtful text message can lead to a lifetime of embarrassment and even land you in legal hot water.

Enter TigerText, an iPhone app that promises to safeguard you from wayward text messages. The free app lets users send text messages to TigerText's server, which forwards it to a recipient who can view the messages via an app reader. This bypasses a wireless carrier's text messaging service.

Here's the kicker: The text message would then be wiped from the face of the earth. After a pre-determined amount of time, the text message disappears from both the sender's and recipient's phones, as well as TigerText's server.

The purpose of this app, of course, is to hide your tiger tracks. Although TigerText appeared on the App Store late last month, makers of the app swear they came up with the app's name well before steamy Tiger Woods text and voicemail messages to mistresses made headline news.

Whoa, Let's "TTT" (Take it to TigerText)

Hostetter sees a lot of value in TigerText. "I'm considering advising clients to use TigerText if they're having an affair or if they can't exercise impulse control in the heat of anger when corresponding with their soon-to-be ex-spouse," she says.

TigerText has gotten a bad rap because of its apparent association with the Tiger Woods scandal, says TigerText founder Jeffrey Evans . Yet cheating spouses aren't the target users, he says. On the contrary, Evans claims an investment bank uses TigerText so that members of its negotiating team can talk with each other during meetings without worrying about strategic messages getting dug up later.

"Even young professionals in New York will write in an email 'TTT'--or take it to TigerText--if the information is getting sensitive," Evans says.

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