Today the Supreme Court decided City of Ontario v. Quon, a very important privacy case regarding a California SWAT officer who argued that the text messages sent on his work pager were entitled to privacy. The case has gained fame for two reasons — because oral argument revealed that the Supreme Justices are not very tech savvy, and because journalists and Court watchers saw this case as a sign of whether we’re entitled to privacy in our communications and emails on work devices (relevant to everyone who uses a work-issued Blackberry for occasional personal email).
The SWAT officer, Sergeant Jeff Quon, is out of luck. The Court decided that the police department’s search of his steamy text messages was reasonable (and reversed the Ninth Circuit, which had held otherwise). Today’s SCOTUS ruling led to headlines like this one from Joan Biskupic at ABC News: High court: Texts on government gear not private.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the Court’s opinion [PDF] in the case, hoped not to see headlines like that….