Does your boss own your text messages?

If your boss pays your mobile phone bill, does he have a right to read your text messages? According to an LA court, the answer is no – not without the employee’s consent.

The decision comes as part of a case, reported by the LA Times that saw a policeman take his employer to court after police department staff read his text messages.

After the policeman exceeded the monthly text allowance paid for by his employer, the police department asked its service provider to turn over records of the contents of his messages.

Wrong move, said the judge, who decided the service provider had breached federal Stored Communications Act, and that the text messages were covered by the 4th amendment. In short, the employer didn’t have a right to look at the texts without the employee’s say so, or without a policy in place warning staff their messages were being monitored.

Does anyone know what laws apply here in the UK?

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