Articles Posted in Computer Use

It’s Cyber Monday. And, since you could’ve rested your deal-finding, typing fingers anywhere. I appreciate that you’re resting them with me before rejoining the masses for some holiday shopping online.

Unfortunately, if you came here looking for links to big savings, I can’t help you. But, what I can do for you on this Cyber Monday is offer your business some different cyber tips. It’s the type of information that could save you thousands, or even millions of dollars if your business stores employee data electronically. Continue reading

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Facebook Mobile Texting Smartphone Facebook Lite (Image Credit: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Facebook-Mobile-Texting-Smartphone-Facebook-Lite-3021068)

During a week-long vacation from work, a Pennsylvania woman claims that some colleagues logged into her Facebook account from work and reviewed her Facebook Messenger messages, among other things. The woman further claims that when she returned to work from vacation, her employer fired her because “things had come to light.”

And now she’s suing in federal court.

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This “invasion of privacy” question is the lynchpin of a new lawsuit from two former employees of one of the largest beer companies in the world. The complaint (available here), which began in state court, has been removed to federal court in New Jersey.

David Gialanella, reporting for the New Jersey Law Journal (full article here), summarizes the facts of the case:

A year ago, five company employees, including Nascimento and Yule, exchanged a series of text messages, apparently disparaging fellow employee Alex Davis. The messages were transmitted using their personal mobile phones, and on their own time, but Nascimento’s personal phone was linked to his company iPad through the iMessaging application, causing the messages to be stored on the iPad, according to the complaint.

Afterward, Nascimento was issued a new iPad, while the old one—with his text messages and credit card information still stored on it—was loaned to Davis. Davis discovered the text messages and complained, after which Nascimento, Yule and the others were questioned by investigators hired by Anheuser-Busch, according to the complaint.

Nascimento, Yule and a third employee involved in the messaging were terminated last September for “‘violation of corporate policy regarding use of company equipment,’” while a fourth was reprimanded, according to the complaint.

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YES, THAT’S RIGHT. NO BIG DEAL.

Hey, if you’re a big employment dork like me, (vote Handbook!), you’ve already read a bunch of blog posts, and you’ll read several more about how the sky is falling after yesterday’s NLRB decision, in which the Board held that employees may use company email to discuss the terms and conditions of employment.

Yes, this decision extends to any workplace — not just unionized workplaces — that is covered by the National Labor Relations Act. And, yes, it may help your employees communicate with one another to form a union (gasp!) or otherwise discuss working conditions, but…

Well, sure, you can.

But winning that case — especially if you’re thinking about a claim under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act — may be another story.

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The CFAA is designed to prevent unauthorized access or malicious interference with a computer system. Often used as an employer-sword, to state a claim for a violation of the CFAA, a company must prove that an employee actually caused damage to its computer system or data. The CFAA defines “damage” as “any impairment to the integrity or availability of data, a program, a system, or information.”

David H. Petraeus 2004Yeah, I know, this post would have been timely if posted last week, when the Petraeus news actually surfaced.

Well it is — err, was —  timely. That is, my Dilworth Paxson colleague, Sehyung Lee, did post “Attennnnn-tion! 4 Important Lessons From the General Petraeus Scandal” over at the White Collar Defense Update Blog last week. I just didn’t get around to reading it until last Friday and, by then, it was too late to link to it from this blog, and…

You get the point right? (I’m too lazy to offer you any original content today).

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”