Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

SCOTUS and technology

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • SCOTUS and technology

    http://trueslant.com/KashmirHill/201...ivate-sexting/

    http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2010/04/19/...supreme-court/

    According to the story, the first sign of trouble came was about midway through the argument, when Chief Justice John Roberts asked what the difference was “between email and a pager?” (Cue sound of hard slap against forehead.)

    At another point, Justice Anthony Kennedy asked what would happen if a text message was sent to an officer at the same time he was sending one to someone else.

    “Does it say: ‘Your call is important to us, and we will get back to you?’” Kennedy asked. (Cue sound of louder slap against forehead.)

    Justice Antonin Scalia stumbled getting his arms around with the idea of a service provider.

    “You mean (the text) doesn’t go right to me?” he asked.

    Then he asked whether they can be printed out in hard copy.

    “Could Quon print these spicy little conversations and send them to his buddies?” Scalia asked.

    Maybe the justices are against cameras in the court because when they think of cameras, they think of those huge cameras on tripods with the cloth to cover the photographers and the supernova flash-bulbs.
    For the case itself, I don't see a problem with Quon using the department-supplied pager for personal use. He needs to have it when off-duty and it's going to be a pain to carry multiple pagers in his equipment. And he's got an agreement with the department to pay for the extra usage. The alternative would be to use a personal pager and have the department send his work-related pages to it, and then bill the department for their use of his personal pager.
    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

  • #2
    Re: SCOTUS and technology

    He signed a paper indicating he was aware that he had zero privacy and he was using a government issued device. He had zero expectation of privacy unless he was an idiot, which I think is what the case is based on.
    |TG-6th|Snooggums

    Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: SCOTUS and technology

      How'd such a cut-and-dried case make it to SCOTUS? Is this a case of an unwritten "right" to be an idiot? The law does seem to be arranged to prevent evolution from doing its job and culling the mentally weak.
      Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

      snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

      Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: SCOTUS and technology

        There was a scene in "Law Abiding Citizen" which I thought of when I read how the SCOTUS is hearing this case.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: SCOTUS and technology

          Originally posted by snooggums View Post
          He signed a paper indicating he was aware that he had zero privacy and he was using a government issued device. He had zero expectation of privacy unless he was an idiot, which I think is what the case is based on.
          This case isn't about privacy, it's about the past practice of allowing limited personal use of government equipment. He didn't care who saw his messages, but when they proposed to discipline him because they no longer approved of how he was taking advantage of the "limited personal use" policy, that's where things got ugly. His personal use wasn't illegal, was in line with past practice policy, and, although not private, wasn't publicly visible (to where they could hang a "conduct unbecoming" charge on him), so why in the world would he get in trouble?
          Become a supporting member!
          Buy a Tactical Duck!
          Take the world's smallest political quiz! "I was touched by His Noodly Appendage."
          TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran:

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: SCOTUS and technology

            He got in trouble for the type of messages he was sending, not the volume. The first line of the first linked article is:
            [quoteoday, the Supreme Court heard the case of the California SWAT officer who sued the city of Ontario for violation of his privacy after his employer reviewed the messages he sent on his work-issued pager. [/quote]
            It is basically the same as a superior overhearing him making sexual comments over the phone or to another employee, which is what he was doing. They only found out he was doing it because of the volume, but the volume itself was not the problem he is being addressed for.
            |TG-6th|Snooggums

            Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: SCOTUS and technology

              It took me a bit to track down the actual case here. The news stories linked are very light on facts and heavy on innuendo.

              So here's the background: Quon got a pager from the city, which was intended for business use only. The city policy (fine print, no one reads it, etc etc but its still there) specified that they were for business use only and he should have no expectation of privacy. Also, the city policy stated that message transcripts were subject to auditing in case of budget questions, to make sure the "business use only" policy was being followed.

              Quon went over his plan limits on pages and the city got a bill for the extra. The guy who was in charge of that bill called him in and basically told him that the city would probably want to audit the transcripts to find out why they were having to pay extra for him. But, you know, if you paid the extra yourself then the city probably wouldn't take the effort to audit *hint hint*.

              This scenario was repeated several times with several different officers, including Quon himself at least 3 times, until finally the guy in charge decided he was, quote, "tired of being a bill collector" for these guys, and complained to the Chief of Police. The Chief told him to go ahead and request an audit then, and find out whether the city just needed to buy a bigger service contract or whether the problem was officers wasting space on personal messages. So they did. And the audit found that Quon was spending most of his texts on personal sex texts...to both his wife and his girlfriend *snicker*.

              So, the legal question is, did the practice of allowing officers to by-pass previous audits by paying their own over-limit fees constitute tacit acceptance of their otherwise-banned personal use? Or should the fact that the whole deal was an under-the-table method of avoiding scrutiny have been a good reminder that this was *ahem* not approved behavior?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: SCOTUS and technology

                Government doesn't do fine print on these kinds of notices. Computers often have a message on the login screen that all use is monitored and not private, I would bet money that the notice he signed was a sheet of paper that simply addressed his lack of an expectation of privacy. A superior excusing the behavior doesn't invalidate the original notice.
                |TG-6th|Snooggums

                Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: SCOTUS and technology

                  Originally posted by snooggums View Post
                  He got in trouble for the type of messages he was sending, not the volume. The first line of the first linked article is:
                  Today, the Supreme Court heard the case of the California SWAT officer who sued the city of Ontario for violation of his privacy after his employer reviewed the messages he sent on his work-issued pager.
                  It is basically the same as a superior overhearing him making sexual comments over the phone or to another employee, which is what he was doing. They only found out he was doing it because of the volume, but the volume itself was not the problem he is being addressed for.
                  The first line of the article has little to do with the case, then...

                  Originally posted by Kerostasis View Post
                  So, the legal question is, did the practice of allowing officers to by-pass previous audits by paying their own over-limit fees constitute tacit acceptance of their otherwise-banned personal use? Or should the fact that the whole deal was an under-the-table method of avoiding scrutiny have been a good reminder that this was *ahem* not approved behavior?
                  Yes, past practices, if repetitive and done with knowledge of management, are often considered to be contractual and binding.

                  At my work, I'm allowed to use email and web browsing for limited personal access. I know everything is logged, archived and occasionally monitored in real time by a live person. There are policies about the types of websites that are forbidden. As long as I don't violate any other policies, I could send my wife raunchy emails to my heart's content and my employer could do little about it. They certainly could read them all they want, though.
                  Become a supporting member!
                  Buy a Tactical Duck!
                  Take the world's smallest political quiz! "I was touched by His Noodly Appendage."
                  TacticalGamer TX LAN/BBQ Veteran:

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: SCOTUS and technology

                    You should tell the courts that it isn't about privacy, it is about personal use:

                    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...T1LLQD9F6AOKO1
                    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the informal policy was enough to give the officers a "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their text messages and establish that their constitutional rights had been violated. The appeals court also faulted the text-messaging service for turning over transcripts of the messages without the officers' consent. The court declined to hear the appeal of USA Mobility Wireless, Inc., which bought the text-messaging service involved in the case.

                    The Obama administration is backing the city, arguing that the written policy, not any informal warning, is what matters. "The computer help desk cannot supplant the chief's desk. That simple, clear rule should have decided this case," Justice Department lawyer Neal Katyal said.

                    More broadly, Katyal said, the appeals court ruling calls into question policies put in place by governments across the country. "Thousands of employers rely on these policies, and millions of employees," he said.

                    The court could take a very narrow path out of the case. Because the employees involved are police officers, several justices said that their communications might be sought by defense lawyers in criminal cases.

                    "I mean, wouldn't you just assume that that whole universe of conversations by SWAT officers who were on duty 24/7 might well have to be reviewed by some member of the public or some of their superiors?" Justice John Paul Stevens said.

                    Justice Sonia Sotomayor wondered whether the reason for looking at the messages mattered. "Let's assume that in this police department, everyone knew, the supervisors and everyone else, that the police department people spoke to their girlfriends at night," Sotomayor said. "And one of the chiefs, out of salacious interest, decides: I'm going to just go in and get those texts, those messages, because I just have a prurient interest."

                    It wouldn't matter, said Kent Richland, the city's lawyer, and Justice Antonin Scalia chimed that he agreed. "So when the filthy-minded police chief listens in, it's a very bad thing, but it's not offending your right of privacy. You expected somebody else could listen in, if not him," Scalia said.

                    Chief Justice John Roberts was alone in asking questions that suggested he would side with the officers. Roberts said the department might have allowed officers to black out any messages they were willing to pay for, providing an accurate picture of text message usage without compromising privacy.
                    Also, tell the lawyers they filed the wrong paperwork:
                    Docket: http://origin.www.supremecourtus.gov/docket/08-1332.htm
                    Questions presented: http://origin.www.supremecourtus.gov/qp/08-01332qp.pdf
                    QUESTIONS PRESENTED:

                    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
                    .
                    Clearly has nothing to do with privacy.
                    |TG-6th|Snooggums

                    Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: SCOTUS and technology

                      Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
                      Yes, past practices, if repetitive and done with knowledge of management, are often considered to be contractual and binding.
                      I tend to agree. I'd say that the city does have the right to revert from the unofficial "we won't read it as long as you pay it" policy to the official "no private use" policy, but to do so would require some kind of notice or warning, not just a ninja-audit that catches the officers off-guard. I think the officers here have a bit of a case.

                      Meanwhile, the same articles that skipped most of the case details also portrayed the Supreme Court justices very poorly for no good reason. It's theoretically possible that the Supreme Court is just that dumb, but it seems much more likely they were asking questions on how technology relates to legal principles, not how technology works in the abstract. Terrible reporting all around.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: SCOTUS and technology

                        Originally posted by Kerostasis View Post
                        I tend to agree. I'd say that the city does have the right to revert from the unofficial "we won't read it as long as you pay it" policy to the official "no private use" policy, but to do so would require some kind of notice or warning, not just a ninja-audit that catches the officers off-guard. I think the officers here have a bit of a case.
                        If the city didn't approve the unofficial behavior how is it their duty to know that they have to reverse that unofficial behavior that they may not have even known about?
                        |TG-6th|Snooggums

                        Just because everyone does something does not mean that it is right to do.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: SCOTUS and technology

                          You might have a point, had the city in fact not known about the unofficial policy. But in fact, all of the officials involved in ordering the audit were fully aware of the unofficial policy that had avoided previous audits. They just didn't want to do that anymore.

                          I'm not quite sure what would happen if, say, you replaced an existing employee familiar with the unofficial policy, and the new replacement tried to follow official policy because that's what was written down, and no one told him otherwise.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: SCOTUS and technology

                            Now you can be a Supreme Court Justice! Wear a black robe and carry a sickle! No, wait, that's somebody else. :p But anyway, check this out!

                            http://www.fantasyscotus.net/
                            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                            Comment

                            Connect

                            Collapse

                            TeamSpeak 3 Server

                            Collapse

                            Advertisement

                            Collapse

                            Twitter Feed

                            Collapse

                            Working...
                            X