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The Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics responds to written inquiries from New York state’s approximately 3,600 judges and justices, as well as hundreds of judicial hearing officers, support magistrates, court attorney-referees, and judicial candidates (both judges and non-judges seeking election to judicial office). The committee interprets the Rules Governing Judicial Conduct (22 NYCRR Part 100) and, to the extent applicable, the Code of Judicial Conduct. The committee consists of 27 current and retired judges, and is co-chaired by the Honorable Margaret Walsh, a justice of the supreme court, and the Honorable Lillian Wan, a court of claims judge and acting supreme court justice.

This responds to your inquiry (20-166) asking if you may sign a form acknowledging receipt of and compliance with an Information Resources and Technology Acceptable Use Policy recently adopted by your town board.  The policy specifies guidelines for use of municipal information equipment, data and systems including computers, cell phones, the internet, text messaging and electronic mail used for official town business, regardless of its location, by employees and elected and appointed officials.  The policy says users of town-provided technology “should have no expectation of privacy and their official activity may be monitored” and that “[a]ll [town] correspondence, including electronic mail and text messages, is subject to the Freedom of Information Law.”  The policy further says that abuse and/or non-compliance may result in sanctions that include “disciplinary action up to and including termination.”  You note that the only town-provided technology the court currently uses is the telephone service.

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