May 162011
 
 May 16, 2011  Court, Non-U.S., Workplace

Stuart Rudner writes:

Many employers assume that if they own a computer, BlackBerry or other device that has been issued to an employee, they are automatically entitled to access the information stored on it. However, the highest court in Ontario has ruled that unless otherwise stated in the employer’s policy, employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy over information stored by them, even on computers and other electronic devices issued by the employer.

R. v. Cole, [2011] O.J. No. 1213 involved a high school teacher who was charged with possession of child pornography. The school had provided Cole with a laptop to use in teaching communication technology and in supervising a laptop program for students. During routine maintenance, one of the school’s computer technicians found nude images of a grade 10 student on the hard drive. The principal directed the technician to copy the images and the Internet files from Cole’s web surfing history. The copies and the laptop were turned over to the police, who searched them without a warrant.

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