Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Are Your Text Messages Private? This is the question the US Supreme Court will address in a case involving an Ontario, CA police officer and his boss' attempt to read text messages he sent from a pager given to him by the police force. In City of Ontario v. Quon, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that Mr. Quon's messages were private and protected by his 4th Amendment rights to privacy. The City of Onatario disagrees. It argued in its papers to the US Supreme Court that it should be allowed to regulate its workplace including reading the private messages of its employees.

I say enough already. Without doubt employers should have the regulate what happens in the workplace, but this doesn't mean that everything that is said or done in the work place becomes a matter of public record. Imagine your wife or husband visiting you at the office and during that visit you have a very private discussion about your finances, sex life, etc. Now clearly your employer would not be privy to this discussion even though you may have had it on company property. So why should those same private thoughts and personal words become subject to public attribution simply because they are transmitted via a pager or cell phone. The advent of the electronic age does not vitiate our constitutional rights to privacy. For goodness sake let officer Quon send his private messages. If you want to admonish him for have private calls or in this case texts while on company time, do so, but to read each and every private message goes to far.

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