The United States Supreme Court released its judgment in City Of Ontario, California, et al. v. Quon et al. today, deciding that when police officer Quon’s employers examined his pager records, they did not violate his Fourth Amendment rights, because although he had a reasonable expectation of privacy, as the jury determined the employer’s examination was for the legitimate, work-related purpose of deciding whether the current character limit in the contract with the provider was adequate.
An interesting excerpt from the judgment of the court, delivered by Kennedy J., which I have not had the time to digest:
The Court must proceed with care when considering the whole concept of privacy expectations in communications made on electronic equipment owned by a government employer. The judiciary risks error by elaborating too fully on the Fourth Amendment implications of emerging technology before its role in society has become clear. . . Prudence counsels caution before the facts in the instant case are used to establish far-reaching premises that define the existence, and extent, of privacy expectations enjoyed by employees when using employer-provided communication devices.
We’ve adverted to Quon a couple of times before on Slaw.
It was a busy day, so to speak, at the U.S. Supreme Court: four further judgments were released along with Quon. The Tarlton Library News Supreme Court Update provides a handy summary of them all.