Reasonable Expectation of Privacy
In this discussion, we are asked about the reasonable expectation of privacy on government-owned equipment that has been issued to us. In my opinion, the government is actually in the right to search without a warrant the computer records and history of government employees. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures from both civil and criminal authorities (Lynch, 2006). I would argue that since the government owns the issued equipment then the government has every right to search that equipment. The Fourth Amendment protects an American citizen’s property from seizure and the privacy of that American citizen, but this equipment is not privately owned. Also, when an American citizen becomes a federal employee then the citizen should be held to the standards of the government. The government employee could also have access to sensitive material, in which that material if leaked, could cause serious and detrimental harm to the interests of the United States. In cases that involve an employee having access to sensitive material, then the federal government has every right to access the computer records of this person. Also, a phone issued out by the federal government should only be used for the government, and not for private use. I have a government computer issued to me. That computer is used for government business and was paid for by the government. In my opinion, the federal employee should not have a reasonable expectation of privacy on equipment that is issued by the federal government. The United States Supreme Court is still in the process of evaluating how the protections garnered from the Fourth Amendment fits into this digital age (Ferguson, 2020). In saying this, future court cases that take place in the digital age can eventually change the Supreme Court’s stance on privacy protections.
Ferguson, A. G. (2020). Structural Sensor Surveillance. Iowa Law Review, 106(1), 47+. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A648382109/AONE?u=tel_a_bethelc&sid=AONE&xid=084bdf7f
Lynch, M. (2006). Mere platitudes: the “Domino Effect” of school-search cases on the Fourth Amendment rights of every American. Iowa Law Review, 91(2), 781+. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A145338747/AONE?u=tel_a_bethelc&sid=AONE&xid=4dcacfe1
Rights of Employers to Monitor Employee Devices
Morrison and Bailey (2011) state that smartphones can now perform tasks formerly reserved for computers. These phones have tremendous processing hardware and significant memory capacity to run both productivity-enhancing and productivity-impeding software. These phones can take pictures, record videos, and support video conferencing. In short, these modern smartphones are capable of delivering and receiving vast amounts of information.
Given these phones’ abilities, employers have a concern about the use of these phones in the workplace. Weisberg (2019) says that after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the government and many employers re-evaluated their privacy policies and expanded the government’s and employer’s right to monitor Internet usage and other electronic communication. No search warrant is required. A study by the GAO of 14 private companies reported they monitor their employee’s electronic communication and computer file activities. Each company maintained that they did this to create back-up files and hold employees accountable for following company policies. There are some restrictions placed on monitoring employee-owned phones but it is legal for the government to monitor government owned phones while the employee is at home or away from the office.
Weisberg (2019) says that both government and non-government employers have the right to monitor their property, including almost anything you can do on these devices. This monitoring includes identifying the type of software downloaded, Internet usage, and what type of files and documents are stored on the computer. The employer can even place a keystroke logger on the computer to track how much you use the computer and exactly what you are entering into the computer. Weisberg (2019) cites a 2007 survey that found 66% of employers monitor all web browsing, and 30% of employers say they have fired an employee for inappropriate browsing. The one thing employers cannot monitor is union-related business.
For purposes of quality control, employers can monitor company work phones. Weisberg (2019) says that if there is no policy banning personal calls during work time, the employer is supposed to stop once it is clear that the call’s purpose is personal. If there is a policy banning personal calls, the employer can continue to listen to be sure the call is private and then take disciplinary action against the employee.
Whittaker (2013) states that, for security reasons, governments may ban the use of thumb drives and similar devices on government computers. Whitaker cites the case of Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning, who used thumb drives to download classified documents and share them with others. Such a ban is useful not just to keep secrets in but to keep malware out. Whittaker states that for those who are allowed to use such external storage devices, the government can monitor them, even if the storage device belongs to the employee.
Hall, D. (2015). Criminal law and procedure (7th ed.). Cengage Learning.
Morrison, C. D., & Bailey, R. L. (2011). Employee Privacy Rights: Employer Monitoring and Investigating Employees’ Electronic Activities and Communications. Energy & Mineral Law Institute, 32, 166–173. https://search-ebscohost-com.bethelu.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ofs&AN=74094689&site=ehost-live
O’Brien, C. N. (2002). The Impact of Employer E-Mail Policies on Employee Rights to Engage in Concerted Activities Protected by the National Labor Relations Act. Labor Law Journal, 53(2), 69–77. https://search-ebscohost-com.bethelu.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=7305366&site=ehost-live
Weisberg, L. (2019, May 3). What can an employer track? Weisberg Cummings, P.C. https://www.weisbergcummings.com/employee-tracking-and-recording/#:~:text=Employers%20need%20your%20permission%20before,protection%20to%20public%20sector%20employees.
Whittaker, Z. (2013, Jun. 24). Pentagon’s failed flash drive ban policy: A lesson for every CIO. ZD Net, https://www.zdnet.com/article/pentagons-failed-flash-drive-ban-policy-a-lesson-for-every-cio/
Upon reading through the text there are two juvenile adjudications that stand out to me. I think that the following two adjudications that are most important to prosecutors are: 1) “fewer legal maneuvers are available to defense attorneys and 2) the reality that few appeals are filed by defense attorneys” (Elrod, 2014). “Judges are the axles on the wheels of the justice turn” (Rachlinski, 2017). To me this means that judges have a lot of discretion as to rather they choose to review, let alone approve or deny a juvenile’s appeal. If juvenile defenders have high caseloads, they may not even bother and/or be motivated to pursue the appeals process for clients due to this reason. Due to their being fewer legal maneuvers available, this would juveniles are more vulnerable to feel the wrath of the system. “Most attorneys have high case loads and lack in training in the specific area of juveniles justice which may affect the overall outcome of a juvenile’s case”(Elrod, 2014). “Juvenile defenders are a critical buffer against injustice and are a the heart of ensuring that the delinquency system operates fairly, accurately and humanely” (NJDC. 2015) . In my opinion, another major factor as to why juveniles are unable to receive adequate representation is probably for the same reasons as to why they are engaging in delinquent behavior is due to poverty. If a juveniles is impoverished most likely his/her family cannot afford adequate legal representation.
Elrod, P., & Ryder, R.S. (2014). Juvenile Justice: A social, historical, and legal perspective (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
NJDC. (2015). Juvenile Defense Policy and Practice Career Resource Guide. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from https://hls.harvard.edu/content/uploads/2015/10/Juvenile-Defense-Career-Resource-Guide.pdf
Rachlinski, J. J. (2017). Judging the Judiciary by the Numbers: Empirical Research on Judges. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2668&context=facpub
The juvenile offenders of the court system are handled very much differently from adult offenders. There are a certain set of rules for juvenile offenders when they are summoned into court. Some people seem to think that juveniles are denied basic protections and also that the court’s informal procedures with juveniles are failing to serve both the juveniles, themselves, and the community. I believe that one of the reasons juveniles are treated differently is because of their age. Juveniles are not allowed to buy firearms or drink alcohol because they are not mature enough to have those responsibilities. Since juveniles are not mature yet, their criminal actions are seen as reversible and the courts think that they are at a better level to be rehabilitated before they grow to adulthood. “The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so” (Campellone & Turley. ND). Two of the features that stand out are fewer legal maneuvers available to defense attorneys, and the ability of judges to revise adverse verdicts reached by other hearing officers (Elrod. 2014). The state makes the decisions on whether or not to send a juvenile to juvenile court or to criminal court, so in turn, the prosecutors have a much larger advantage over defense attorneys. And lastly, the judges are not limited to act solely on current case law or the prior verdicts which means the defense attorney does not know the fate of the case regardless of what happened in the past. In the end the defense attorney cannot give the right predictions or plan for a strategy to fight any changes.
Campellone, J. & Turley, R. (ND) Understanding the Teen Brain. Health Encyclopedia. Rochester Medical Center. Retrieved from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=3051
Elrod, P., & Ryder, R. S. (2014). Juvenile Justice: A Social, Historical, and Legal Perspective (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
The Environmental Protection Agency has a Safer Product Labeling Program entitled “Design for the Environment” that is responsible for determining how to effectively highlight safer products for consumer use. These products can include all-purpose cleaners, dishwasher detergents, car care products, carpet cleaners, dish and hand soaps, floor care products, laundry detergents and softeners, leather cleaners, toilet bowl and tub/tile cleaners, window/glass cleaners, and wood cleaners (Adams, Carroll, Dorsey, Fekete, & Harris, 2014). I have at least one of every aforementioned product in my house currently. Aside from cleaning products alone, there are other countless products found in my home containing chemicals and toxins. These include fingernail polish, fingernail polish remover, perfumes, shampoo and conditioners, bodywash, facewash, beard oils, makeup, medicines, and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, many different chemicals and toxins can be found throughout the foods and beverages stored in the refrigerator and pantry.
I originally thought of only cleaning products when considering what household items contained chemicals and toxins, so it was a little surprising when I considered all of the other products in my house that contain these things. However, I frequently use every product that I purchase with the exception of maybe one, so I do not dispose of chemicals until they have been completely used. The one I do not use often I could definitely dispose of without missing it. If I feel the need to dispose of any of these products before they have completely run out, there are different suggested ways to do so carefully. First, it is recommended to never dispose of hazardous wastes directly down the sink drain or toilet, as it could pollute drinking water (Wright, 2019). Acids and bases and pesticides should be used entirely before their disposal. Solvents should be recycled. Lastly, bleaches, cleaners, and polishes should be poured down the drain slowly with running water (Wright, 2019).
EPA can help consumers identify household and other products with safer chemicals by strengthening its “Design for the Environment” Program. (2014).
Wright, S. E. (Susan E., Koukel, S., Griffiths, R., NMSU College of Agricultural, & Consumer. (2019). Safe use and disposal of household chemicals, 2019. NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES.
(Jones, M. M., & Benrubi, I. D. 2013) Said, “As household chemicals proliferated in the early 20th century, physicians concerned with childhood poisonings pressured the federal government to enact legislation mandating warning labels on packaging for these substances. Manufacturers of household chemicals agreed to labeling requirements for caustic poisons but resisted broader regulation.” There are many household chemicals that a lot of people use every day. Many of these chemicals are harmful or sometimes fatal if they are ingested, of if they were to make contact with the skin or eyes. Plant fertilizer can burn the skin, so can bleach, and some detergents can even cause blindness if introduced to the eyes. The EPA, in this regard are useful in regulating household cleaners, and requiring warning labels.
(Withgott J. H., & Laposata M. 2018). Said, “The Toxic Substances Control Act directs the EPA to monitor thousands of industrial chemicals manufactured in or imported into the United States, ranging from PCBs to lead to bisphenol A.”After conducting a search of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, I was surprised that I did not have more cleaning chemical than I did. The bathroom only contained toilet bowl cleaner, which contains bleach. The kitchen cabinets contained lemon scented ammonia, which is obviously a much stronger chemical. I also realized that I really do not have any extra chemical lying around due to lack of use. The labels on both of these bottles stated that proper disposal should consist of simply turning in the empty containers to a recycling center. However, neither labels stated how to properly dispose of the chemical itself.
Jones, M. M., & Benrubi, I. D. (2013). POISON POLITICS: A Contentious History of Consumer Protection Against Dangerous Household Chemicals in the United States. American Journal of Public Health, 103(5), 801–812. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2012.301066
Withgott J. H., & Laposata M. (2018). Essential Environment. [Savant Learning Systems]. Retrieved from https://savantlearningsystems.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780134818689/