Another Constitutional
Amendment Goes
Down In Flames
From The Minneapolis Star-Tribune
From Brasscheck <>
From Sam Smith

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated..."
Northwest Airlines last week began court-authorized searches of the home computers of between 10 and 20 flight attendants, looking for private e-mail and other evidence that the employees helped to organize a sick-out at the airline over the New Year's holiday.
The search has since been suspended pending a temporary settlement of the airline's lawsuit against Teamsters Local 2000, the union representing 11,000 flight attendants. But privacy advocates and attorneys not involved with the case say Northwest's action may embolden other companies to more aggressively monitor what employees say and do online from their home computers . . .
Companies have rarely sought to search the home computers of their employees. In the past, most such searches usually have been limited to cases involving workers who've been accused of stealing company files, passing on trade secrets to competitors or using insider information to profit on the trading of company stock.
. . . The threat of a court-authorized search of home computers has already had one measurable impact: Postings to a rank-and-file Web site that was openly critical of both union management and the company have slowed to a trickle. Asked why the union didn't fight harder against the effort to search employees' home computers, Billie Davenport, president of Teamsters Local 2000, said the union complied with the discovery request because it felt it had nothing to hide.


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