In Ontario v. Quon, the U.S. Supreme Court was confronted with the issue of whether an employer conducted a search, within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, when reading text messages which were personal to the employee, but which were sent and received on a pager owned by the employer and issued to the employee for work purposes.

The question, however, was complicated by the fact that the employer was a police department, which triggered Fourth Amendment protections applied to states through the Fourteenth Amendment, and even further complicated by the fact that while department policy gave no police officer any reasonable expectation of privacy in his or her text messages, Quon’s supervisor had, at one point, said he would not look at them.

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