The case was brought against the California police by SWAT team member Jeff Quon, who was disciplined after he was found to have used his government issue pager to send 100s of sexually explicit texts to his wife, his girlfriend and a colleague.
The texts were discovered during an audit to find out if officers were breaking rules on personal pager use. Quon's team argued that their privacy rights were infringed and sued the police department in Ontario, California and the police chief who saw them, but the court ruled unanimously against them.
"Quon could have anticipated that it might be necessary for the city to audit pager messages to assess the SWAT team's performance in particular emergency situations," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the final ruling [PDF].
The ruling will have a major impact on employee law and will open the door to a whole host of new monitoring services in the Valley and across the country. Internal monitoring is big business here, and elsewhere in the IT industry and while budgets have been cut during the recession the decision will spur the market.
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