The Supreme Court has taken up an interesting case out of California, which centers on the ability of an employer to monitor text messages sent from devices provided by the employer. In this case, a Police officer was found to have sent sexually explicit texts from his hand held device to another individual.
The devices were provided to the individuals in the course of their duty as SWAT officers in California, Ontario. Personal use was allowed, with the caveat that it should not be excessive use, and that they should acknowledge that they have no right of privacy.
As well, the policy provided for a certain number of messages each month. Any amounts of that limit would have to be paid for by the employee, and through an informal policy, those users who paid for the overages would not have their messages inspected.
The question hinges on whether the officer had a reasonable expectation of privacy given the informal policy, or does the right of an employer to manager their given devices trump the privacy concerns of the officers. The employees in this case are public, government employees, and preform emergency services in their communities.
While the eventual ruling may have a narrow implication, we will keep you updated on the coming decision