Last Monday, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will review a case in which three Ontario, California police officers and another employee complained that their employer improperly snooped on their text messages, many of which were sexually explicit. "While the case involves government workers, the decision could have broader privacy implications. Many employers tell workers there is no guarantee of privacy in anything sent over their company- or government-provided computers, cell phones or pagers. Ontario has a similar policy, but a police official also informally told officers that no one would audit their text message use if the officers personally paid for charges above a monthly allowance." The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that statement was enough to give the officers a reasonable expectation of privacy in their text messages. The case is City of Ontario v. Quon, 08-1332.
This year has been a "banner year" for cybercrime and experts fear that over the next few years, consumers may grow to distrust transacting business over the Internet. In 2009, more than 40 trillion spam messages were sent, accounting for 87 percent of all email traffic, up 17 percent from 2008. Much of that spam contained malware. These trends will continue and experts believe we will see a number of malware attacks on popular mobile platforms, such as the iPhone, in 2010.
Each weekend, E-Commerce Law Briefs provides a brief summary and commentary on recent legal news affecting e-commerce businesses.