SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Lawyers have been given the green light to scan the social media sites of jurors.

The American Bar Association says it’s ethical for lawyers to scour online for publicly available musings of citizens called for jury service—and even jurors in deliberations.

READ MORE: Vice President Harris To Visit U.S.-Mexico Border Friday

But the ABA does warn lawyers against actively “following” or “friending” jurors or otherwise invading their private Internet areas.

READ MORE: Silicon Valley Antivirus Software Mogul John McAfee Found Dead in Spanish Prison Cell After Extradition to U.S. Approved

The “formal opinion” was issued in April and will serve as an ethical guideline for the nation’s lawyers. The ABA’s ethics committee began reviewing the issue about two years ago and concluded that looking at Facebook posts, Twitter tweets and other information gathered passively is ethical research.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

MORE NEWS: Contra Costa Authorities Seize Hundreds of Pounds of Fireworks Ahead of July 4th