Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's getting harder for the boss to snoop on your texting on the work phone

Don't go crazy yet sending racy texts to your person. But a new court ruling is making it harder for employers in some states to snoop around your phones/pagers, so says an article in the July 14 issue of Newsweek.

In the U.S. Ninth Circuit states -- Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands (but no, sniff, sniff, Georgia), --protects text messages from nosy employers. Couple of questions: How will this be enforced? Will phone companies simply not reveal any of the messages in their back-up system to employers? Are the messages admissible in court?
Here's what happened to spur this all on: a California police officer, Newsweek reported, was provided a work-issued pager. His bosses read his personal text messages sent from this device. The officer apparently had even gone over his text limit -- so his bosses checked into it. He typically paid the overage charges. But the Ninth Circuit court ruled that the officer's texts are protected, even though they were on a work phone.

With all the employee handbooks out there stating that everything you look at on the computer, every e-mail and phone call can be monitored because it is the company's property, this case is surprising, but nice. Wonder how texting is different from e-mailing?

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