I found a follow up in the Detroit News today about the Supreme Court case I blogged about earlier this week. It sounds like the court will not be ruling in the employee’s favor. It will be interesting to see how this affects other privacy rules at work.
Washington — The Supreme Court appears likely to rule against public employees who claimed a local government violated their privacy by reading racy text messages they sent on their employers’ account.
Several justices said Monday that the employer, the Ontario, Calif., police department, acted reasonably in monitoring the text messages in view of its written policy warning employees they have no guarantee of privacy in the use of office computer and electronics equipment.
Justice Stephen Breyer said he didn’t see “anything, quite honestly, unreasonable about that.”
While the case involves government workers, the decision could have broader privacy implications as courts continue to sort out privacy issues in the digital age. Many employers tell workers there is no guarantee of privacy in anything sent over their company- or government-provided computers, cell phones or pagers.
The case arose when the Ontario department decided to audit text message usage to see whether its SWAT team officers were using them too often for personal reasons. Three employees complained that the department improperly snooped on their electronic exchanges.