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They did not violate a privacy expectation in the office generally, such as through "their
conduct of a general search," Mancusi v. DeForte, 392 U.S. 364, 369, 88 S.Ct. 2120, 20
L.Ed.2d 1154 (1968), or video surveillance, see United States v. Taketa, 923 F.2d 665,
672-75 (9th Cir.1991). Neither did they violate some specific realm of privacy, such as a
desk or file cabinet "given over to [Ziegler's] exclusive use," Schowengerdt v. Gen.
Dynamics Corp., 823 F.2d 1328, 1335 (9th Cir.1987), in which Ziegler could have kept
private papers or effects. See Ortega, 480 U.S. at 717-18, 107 S.Ct. 1492. Rather, the
Frontline employees entered the office merely to gain access to the computer's hard drive.
As we discuss below, Frontline policy entitled its personnel to administrative access to
the employees' computers, and as such, Softich and Schneider's entry was an "operational
realit[y] of [Ziegler's] workplace [that] diminished his legitimate privacy expectations."
Simons, 206 F.3d at 399; see also Taketa, 923 F.2d at 672 (noting that "a valid regulation
may defeat an otherwise reasonable expectation of workplace privacy" (citation
omitted)); cf. United States v. Blok, 188 F.2d 1019, 1020-21 (D.C.Cir.1951) (holding
invalid a search of an employee's desk because the employer itself was not empowered to
conduct the search).
The government does not contest Ziegler's claim that he had a subjective expectation of
privacy in the computer. The use of a password on his computer and the lock on his
private office door are sufficient evidence of such expectation. See United States v.
Bailey, 272 F.Supp.2d 822, 835 (D.Neb.2003) (citation omitted).
But Ziegler's expectation of privacy in his workplace computer must also have been
In United States v. Simons, the case upon which the district court relied, the Fourth
Circuit reasoned that an employer's Internet-usage policy--which required that employees 83 use the Internet only for official business and informed employees that the employer
would "conduct electronic audits to ensure compliance,&qu...
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This note was uploaded on 09/30/2012 for the course ENC 102 taught by Professor Deria during the Spring '08 term at FIU.
- Spring '08