Canadian Supreme Court rules employees have right to privacy on work computers
Workplace computers contain so much personal information nowadays that employees have a legitimate expectation of privacy in using them, the Supreme Court of Canada said in a major ruling Friday.
The court said an individual’s Internet browsing history alone is capable of exposing his or her most intimate likes, dislikes, activities and thoughts.
“Canadians may therefore reasonably expect privacy in the information contained on these computers, at least where personal use is permitted or reasonably expected,” Mr. Justice Morris Fish said, writing for the majority.
Notwithstanding that privacy interest, the court ruled that nude photos of an underaged students can be used to prosecute an Ontario high-school teacher who had them on his laptop.
It said that in some cases, the seriousness of an offence and workplace computer policies are sufficient to override the right to privacy.
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