By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
In a landmark ruling, a US federal appeals court has declared that employers are not allowed to read employees work emails and text messages without getting a warrant first.
But the ruling only applies to situations where the company outsources its email and texts to an outside company and not if it is done in-house on internal servers.
The ruling comes after a police officer, Jeff Quon, sued his department for reading his work text messages, some of which were personal and sexually explicit to his wife. The company that stored the messages, Arch Wireless, was found to have violated the Stored Communications Act and the court said that Quon’s messages were protected under the Fourth Amendment.
Personally speaking, how stupid is Quon to use a police department pager with taxpayers money to send sexually explicit messages to his wife? Then when he is caught, instead of apologizing and offering to reimburse the department, he proceeds to sue his department (who then has to use more taxpayers money to defend themselves) for more financial compensation!
To be honest, I am not all that sure that this ruling is actually good. Shouldn’t employers have the power to check to see if idiots like Quon are abusing their employer’s trust? I am all for privacy, but if employees are using work accounts for personal gain, the employer should have the ability to verify what’s going on.
Your opinions, as usual, are always welcomed!