Domestic Diversions

How confidential are e-mails sent while at work?

ABAJournal.comreports on the privilege afforded to a federal prosecutor whose private e-mail to his own lawyer was sent from a government computer at work.

Martha Neil writes (excerpt):
Because he is allowed to use his work e-mail account for personal communications, assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel had a reasonable expectation of privacy in those personal communications, explains the U.S. District Court for the the District of Columbia in a written opinion. And because there was a reasonable expectation of privacy, they are confidential attorney-client privileged documents.

Another factor in the decision, according to the National Law Journal, is that Tukel wasn’t aware that the government had access to his account and might be looking at his personal e-mail.

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