Electronic Privacy on the Job

Source: Devallis Rutledge, Campus Safety Magazine, December 10, 2010

Can a department monitor its officers’ use of official devices?

Several important points can be derived from statements in the court’s decision in City of Ontario v. Quon:

* Public employers are bound by the Fourth Amendment.
* Legitimate expectations of privacy may evolve with changing technology.
* It is important for employers to have clear, comprehensive policies that put employees on notice of the conditions of use of department-issued equipment.
* Since police communications may become evidence in a criminal case, officers should realize the risk that their messages may have to be disclosed.
* The ruling in Quon may not apply to all future scenarios of employer access to employee communications made over employer-issued devices.

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