The law has not kept up with technology but the courts and congress are trying. We will do our best to keep you updated on what we think are the most important current cases in electronic human resources. Some of these cases are criminal cases but we believe that they have an impact on all civil and criminal cases involving technology and the monitoring of an individual. Review the cases below to gain a deeper understanding of how technology and law are working together and changing.
US District Court case in the matter of the decryption of a seized data storage system. Jeffrey Feldman was asked to “assist in the execution of a federal search warrant by providing federal law enforcement agents a decrypted version of the contents of his encrypted data storage system, previously seized and authorized for search under a federal search warrant.” The primary issue presented by the government’s application is whether compliance with such an order would involve incriminating testimony within the protection of the Fifth Amendment.
After the denial of their original request, the FBI was able to successfully decrypt one of the hard drives; in it they found over 700,000 files. The files not only linked the hard drive to child pornography, but also to the defendant. The court now decided, based on this new evidence, that the government had reasonable cause to believe that Feldman was storing other illegal material and ordered him to help in decrypting the rest of the storage devices. This would not be violating the 5th Amendment, according to the court, because the new evidence precluded the defendant from pleading the 5th Amendment.
The Supreme Court’s decision in United States v Jones presents the disturbing possibility that we have given the government wide-open access to all of the information about us is true. In Jones, the court held that long-term GPS surveillance of a suspect’s car violated the Fourth Amendment. This article discusses the implications of this decision.
The Supreme Court rejected a broad right of privacy for workers who send text messages on the job, ruling that supervisors may read through an employee's communications if they suspect rules are being violated. In a 9-0 ruling, the justices said a police chief in Ontario, Calif., did not violate the constitutional rights of an officer when he read the transcripts of sexually explicit text messages sent from the officer's work pager.
In the past twenty years, businesses and private citizens alike have embraced the use of computers, electronic communication devices, the Internet, and e-mail. As those and other forms of technology evolve, the line separating business from personal activities can easily blur. Stengart v. Loving Care Agency Inc LCA details some of the legal implications that have arisen due to this blurring line.
Plaintiff Jane Doe, on behalf of her minor daughter Jill Doe, appeals from a summary judgment dismissing her complaint against defendant XYC Corporation which sought to hold defendant responsible for the activities of one of its employees (Employee) who was Jane's husband and the stepfather of Jill. We reverse. We hold that an employer who is on notice that one of its employees is using a workplace computer to access pornography, possibly child pornography, has a duty to investigate the employee's activities and to take prompt and effective action to stop the unauthorized activity, lest it result in harm to innocent third-parties. No privacy interest of the employee stands in the way of this duty on the part of the employer
Penn State administrators quietly introduced the plan, called “Take Care of Your Health,” this summer in the deadest part of the academic calendar. But that didn’t prevent some conscientious objectors from organizing a protest online and on their campuses, culminating last week in an emotionally charged faculty senate meeting. The plan, they argued, is coercive, punitive and invades university employees’ privacy.
A federal court ruling says that warrantless cell phone tracking by police is legal. The panel of judges found that law enforcement were within their legal right to track Skinner, an alleged drug trafficker, through his cell phone before they arrested him in 2006. Law enforcement used the GPS feature on Skinner’s phone to track his whereabouts and arrest him. The judges believe the police were simply leveraging the power of the technology the person of interest was using against that person.
Page last modified December 3, 2013