The Supreme Court said it will review a case on whether employers can review without consent text messages sent to and from employer-issued devices. The outcome of the case could have far-reaching implications on the level of privacy employees can expect on their work cell phones.
The case involves sexually explicit text messages a police officer sent to his girlfriend from his department-issued pager, which were discovered by his police chief. A federal court ruled that the chief's decision to read the messages without reasonable cause violated the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search. The city involved--Ontario, Calif.--appealed the case to the Supreme Court.
In its ruling on the case, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in California acknowledged the unique aspects of the case, and said that the "recently minted standard of electronic communication via emails, text messages and other means opens a new frontier in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence that has been little explored."
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