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Court: Personal Items on Work Computer Are Private

PRIVACY LAW—CANADA

March 23, 2011

The Globe and Mail reports on a judgment this week by the Ontario Court of Appeal related to questionable files a teacher had on his school-issued computer. "I conclude that the appellant had a reasonable expectation of privacy from state intrusion in the personal use of his work computer and in the contents of his personal files on its hard drive," Justice Andromache Karakatsanis wrote in the 30-page ruling.The court found it was permissible for school officials to search the computer but not to provide police access. "This case comes down firmly on the side of privacy and holds that employers cannot give police investigators access to a workplace computer," said privacy expert Scott Hutchison, adding, "the employer may own the computer, but that doesn't give them the power to waive the employee's privacy rights."
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