No Privacy in Text Messages

June 21, 2010

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Earlier I mentioned a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the right to privacy in employer-provided communication devices. 

Short version: a police officer was using his government-provided pager to send racy text messages to his wife. The police department busted him for it.

The Supreme Court issued their opinion last Thursday, holding that the employee’s Fourth Amendment rights were not violated and the employer’s reading of the employee’s text messages was reasonable, reversing the Ninth Circuit.

View the opinion on Westlaw:  2010 WL 2400087
On WestlawNext:  2010 WL 2400087

If you’re looking for a giggle, take a look at the oral argument transcript and enjoy the Justices’ difficulty in grasping text-messaging technology.  

My personal favorite is a Chief Justice Roberts quote.  “Maybe—maybe everybody knows this, but what is the difference between the pager and the e-mail?”