Gone are the days when all that “business technology” meant was a telephone, an adding machine and carbon paper. Today, no business can survive, let alone thrive, without providing employees with a full range of highly sophisticated electronic tools from a continually growing list, including cell phones, computers and laptops, personal navigational devices, and PDAs.

Employee abuse of employer-provided equipment has always created a potential for liability, but the advent of the computer and the Internet has significantly altered the landscape. What is new about today’s electronic tools, and what increases the level of employer exposure, is the fact that these devices enable employees to have instantaneous access to the outside world. The difference between giving an employee a telephone or a computer with Internet access is like the difference between giving a hunter a pea shooter or an AK47. The likelihood of success is much greater with the AK47, but so is the risk of a significant mishap.