Privacy of Email and Text Messages - Case Law Sprinting to Catch Up with Modern Technology

March 04, 2011

March 4, 2011 (Mountain View, CA) – Robert Brownstone, co-chair of the Electronic Information Management Group and Sheeva J. Ghassemi-Vanni, associate in the Employment Practices Group of Fenwick & West LLP recently co-authored the article "Privacy of Email and Text Messages – Case Law Sprinting to Catch Up to Modern Technology," which was published in the March edition of Bloomberg's Privacy & Information Law Report.

The article examines the current state of privacy law, particularly as it applies to email and text messages. The authors explored the topics of general right to privacy in email, right to privacy in personal emails sent on work computers, attorney-client privilege with respect to emails sent from work or personal computers and protection and search of text messages.

Their analysis of these privacy issues covered the impact of cases such as Rehberg v. Paulk, United States v. Warshak, Holmes v. Petrovich and Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc.

In their review of these topics, the authors say that the "take away for employers is to be specific when drafting electronic use policies." They also caution individuals that "cell phones and text messages, especially involving company-issued devices, can be quite vulnerable."

To view a PDF of the full article, please click here.