Monday, April 19, 2010

Personally, I think it SHOULD go right to the other thing

Although I think SCOTUS are on the right track in Ontario v. Quon, their latest privacy case (no reasonable expectation of privacy when communicating on the government's dime, especially with a written policy in effect), I think we can rightly be concerned that the Justices are deciding some technology-based issues they're just barely up to snuff on:

By Mark Sherman
Associated Press
Posted: 04/19/2010 12:37:31 PM PDT
Updated: 04/19/2010 02:41:16 PM PDT

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court appears likely to rule against public employees who claimed a local government violated their privacy by reading racy text messages they sent on their employers' account.

Several justices said Monday that the employer, the Ontario, Calif., police department, acted reasonably in monitoring the text messages in view of its written policy warning employees they have no guarantee of privacy in the use of office computer and electronics equipment.
Justice Stephen Breyer said he didn't see "anything, quite honestly, unreasonable about that."

While the case involves government workers, the decision could have broader privacy implications as courts continue to sort out privacy issues in the digital age. Many employers, including Ontario, tell workers there is no guarantee of privacy in anything sent over their company- or government-provided computers, cell phones or pagers....

All well and good (as my 4th grade teacher would have said), but what I'm concerned about is this (from the linked article, w/ quotes from p. 48 of the official transcript):
...The argument also displayed the limits on the justices' mastery of modern communications devices as Roberts tried to figure out the role of the text-messaging service in enabling an exchange between two people.

"I thought, you know, you push a button; it goes right to the other thing," Roberts said.

"You mean it doesn't go right to the other thing?" Scalia said.

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