Main | Thursday, August 30, 2007

NYC Knows Where You Are

In a precedent-setting decision, a New York judge has ruled that the city can fire a 21-year employee of the school system after GPS-tracking secretly installed on his city-issued cellphone revealed that he had left the job early on 83 occasions and may have falsified his timecards to cover his tracks.

Although the secret tracking also revealed that the employee had come in to work hours early on many occasions, for which he requested no overtime, the judge decided the early departures were grounds for dismissal and that the city is not obligated to reveal to employees the means by which they monitor misconduct. The employee contends that his privacy was invaded because the city also tracked his whereabouts while he wasn't supposed to be at work. Privacy experts are flummoxed, with one saying that she knew of few similar cases because the law has not yet caught up with the technology.

What say you, privacy advocates? Did the city have an obligation to tell employees about the phone tracking? Is phone tracking an invasion of privacy even if the employees know?

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