1. How does Judge Weiner explain why Michael Smyth lost any “reasonable expectation of privacy” in his e-mail comments?
2. Is there any difference between a password-protected message sent on company e-mail and a handwritten memo sealed in an envelope marked “private” sent through company mail? Consider the judge’s reasons for his ruling that you articulated above. Would they also apply to the memo? Suppose Pillsbury began covert audio monitoring of the area near the coffee station in order to screen employee conversations on break time. How would the judge’s reasoning apply?
3. Corporate culture varies, and with it, corporate surveillance policies. Some companies give notice to employees that their e-mail communications are not private. Kmart’s policy, for example, introduced at every employee orientation, states that “misuse of the e-mail system could result in denial of access to the Kmart computing environment or dismissal.” Apple Computers, on the other hand, has an explicit policy of not monitoring employee e mail. What might be the advantages and disadvantages of such policies from an employee’s viewpoint? An employer’s?
4. As employees work longer hours, both onsite and offsite, and as the division between work and the rest of life becomes ever more blurred, should the balancing of interests articulated in the Pillsbury case change?
5. Should educational institutions be free to randomly monitor student and faculty e-mail? What is your school’s policy on e-mail privacy? Review it and discuss it with others. Are there elements of the policy that you would change, in light of what you have read? Rewrite it.

  • CreatedSeptember 11, 2015
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