Law.com reports on a Florida court's ruling that pushes the envelope on the duty to preserve electronic data:
This is a ruling that should raise concern among privacy advocates, given the mixed personal and professional use by many of their mobile devices.
On Monday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case where it will decide whether employers have the right to monitor text messages sent on company pagers. City of Ontario v. Quon could establish new rules regarding workers rights for privacy on employer-owned electronics.....Transcripts showed that Sgt. Jeff Quon sent his wife, girlfriend and another officer hundreds of personal messages. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Quon and other officers, ruling that they had a “reasonable expectation of privacy" and that the department violated the Fourth Amendment. It also found that the wireless provider violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act by turning over the transcript. The San Francisco-based court’s decision is the first by a federal appeals court to find that the Constitution protects workers privacy rights when they are using electronic devices that their employers own.The topic has also shown up in New Jersey’s Supreme Court. The state's highest court will decide if a home health care provider has the right to monitor all activity on the company’s technology systems includes one employee’s e-mails with her lawyer. Sent from a personal account on a company-owned laptop, the messages were about a lawsuit she was filing against the employer for sexual harassment and ethnic discrimination. A lower court determined the worker’s employee-client privilege outweighed the company’s policy.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto