Here is a link to an NLJ story about City of Ontario, Calif. v. Quon, .  The questions presented are:

While individuals do not lose Fourth Amendment rights merely because they work for the government, some expectations of privacy held by government employees may be unreasonable due to the “operational realities of the workplace.” O’Connor v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709, 717 (1987) (plurality). Even if there exists a reasonable expectation of privacy, a warrantless search by a government employer – for noninvestigatory work-related purposes or for investigations of work-related misconduct – is permissible if reasonable under the circumstances. Id. at 725-26 (plurality). The questions presented are:

1. Whether a SWAT team member has a reasonable expectation of privacy in text messages transmitted on his SWAT pager, where the police department has an official no-privacy policy but a non-policymaking lieutenant announced an informal policy of allowing some personal use of the pagers.

2. Whether the Ninth Circuit contravened this Court’s Fourth Amendment precedents and created a circuit conflict by analyzing whether the police department could have used “less intrusive methods” of reviewing text messages transmitted by a SWAT team member on his SWAT pager.

3. Whether individuals who send text messages to a SWAT team member’s SWAT pager have a reasonable expectation that their messages will be free from review by the recipient’s government employer.

Courtesy of SCOTUS, here (I like the new website), and SCOTUSblog analysis, here.

As our readers know, the issue of workplace privacy, particularly in government issued technology, is on the minds of judge advocates.  Recent changes in the DoD banner and its implications for attorney client communications (see here) and privacy of emails sent using government or personal email accounts on government computers (see A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy: Is a Government E-mail Account the Equivalent of a Wall Locker in a Barracks Room?, Army Law, Nov. 2008, here) are only a few of the issues percolating through the CCAs and CAAF.   Those that represent DoD contractors that use government computers (or computers purchased as part of a government contract that become gov’t property) might also think about the implications.

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