This week’s FedWeek “Armed Forces News” email newsletter notes upcoming changes to the privacy notice on government computers, apparently prompted by the decision in United States v. Long, 64 M.J. 57 (C.A.A.F. 2006). And yes, the statement of the case is inaccurate.
“5. No Right to Computer Privacy——————————-Beginning Dec. 12, Defense Department computers will carry new notices which will clearly tell both civilian and uniformed users that they have no right to privacy while using them. By using the computers, the notices will say, employees automatically understand and consent to monitoring of their emails. Shorter versions of the notices will also appear on government-owned BlackBerrys and other smaller electronic devices. The new notices come in the wake of a recent landmark decision by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, involving a service member who used a government computer to discuss an impending drug test and the steps she took to mask her own drug use. She was convicted at court-martial based on evidence seized from her government computer, but another lower appeals court overturned the conviction because the existing language of the notice did not clearly state there was no right to privacy on government computers. The CAAF decision reversed the lower appeals court’s ruling.”
PS – You can sign up for the newsletter at www.fedweek.com. It usually contains about 10 short bursts on personnel issues, legislative initiatives, etc., and provides URL’s to promotion board results. It’s released every Friday afternoon.