Big Brother is in Your Phone, Reading Your SMS. WTF?
by, 19 Jun 2010 at 10:46 AM (7142 Views)
Well this news is disturbing. I am surprised this hasn't been announced sooner. Solution: Bitch about your boss on Skype or AIM...
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that employers at public organizations, such as police departments or local governments, have the right to search text messages sent by employees as long as "a legitimate work-related purpose" exists. The ruling was made in connection with a lawsuit filed by a police officer in California who believed the Fourth Amendment protected his rights against "unreasonable search." In the case, the Police Department of Ontario, Calif., audited the text messages sent by employees in an attempt to determine the break down of business and personal use. The officers (and all City of Ontario employees) were told "light personal communication" was acceptable. The audit showed messages of an explicit nature sent by Sgt. Jeff Quon and exposed an affair. Sgt. Quon, another officer, and Quon's wife and mistress all sued, saying their Fourth Amendment rights had been violated. The local court decided against Quon and sided with the city. That decision was reversed upon appeal. The Supreme Court ruling sides with the City of Ontario. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote that the city "had a legitimate interest in ensuring that employees were not being forced to pay out of their own pockets for work-related expenses, or on the other hand that the city was not paying for extensive personal communications." The bottom line is that this ruling provides the legal basis for public employers to search the text messages of public employees, who should not have any reasonable expectation of privacy with public-issued mobile phones. The ruling does not apply to employees of private companies.
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