Company Can Allow FBI Search Without Warrant
Although an employee had a legitimate expectation of privacy in his workplace office, his employer retained the ability to consent to a government search of his office and work computer, the Ninth Circuit rules. The case involved evidence of child pornography found on the work computer which was voluntarily turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by the company. “[E]ven where a private employee retains an expectation that his private office will not be the subject of an unreasonable government search, such interest may be subject to the possibility of an employer’s consent to a search of the premises which it owns,” said the Court. The employee could not reasonably expect that the work computer was his personal property since the company had apprised employees that it routinely monitored computers, and that the computers were company-owned and were not to be used for activities of a personal nature, the Court reasoned. United States of America v. Ziegler.