They Can’t Hide Their Pryin’ Eyes
For desk jockeys everywhere, it has become as routine as a tour of the office-supply closet: the consent form attesting that you understand and accept that any e-mails you write, Internet sites you visit or business you conduct on your employer's computer network are subject to inspection. That X-rated message from your boyfriend? You keep it on Gmail. Your thinly veiled Web diary of soul-crushing corporate tedium? It's crafted on the MacBook your mom bought you last year. Simple enough. But commonplace communication—texting, instant messaging, Twittering, telekinesis (prove me wrong)—is evolving faster than corporate policy, and the best practices of the e-mail age are becoming antiquated. Computer-privacy advocates celebrated this month after the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a potentially precedent-setting ruling that makes it more difficult for employers to sniff around in workers' electronic communications. Jennifer Granick, civil-liberties director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights advocacy group, called the ruling "a great decision in support of communication privacy."