December 14, 2009

From the KMBC web site.

Does your company have the right to read e-mails and text messages sent from a company-owned phone?

Laz Abalos/KMBC

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that could determine privacy rights for millions of Americans.

The justices said they will review a federal appeals court ruling that sided with Ontario, Calif., police officers who complained that the department improperly snooped on their electronic exchanges. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco also faulted the text-messaging service for turning over transcripts of the messages without the officers' consent.

Users of text-messaging services "have a reasonable expectation of privacy" regarding messages stored on the service provider's network, 9th Circuit Judge Kim Wardlaw said. Both the city and USA Mobility Wireless, which bought the text-messaging service involved in the case, appealed the 9th Circuit ruling.

KMBC's Bev Chapman interviews Polsinelli Shughart employment attorney Eric Packel about the issue.

To see the story, click here.

KMBC has given the firm permission to post this story.