California E-Mail Privacy Bill Passes Legislature, Heads to Governor's Desk

California Senator Debra Bowen's electronic privacy bill, SB 1841, which requires employers to notify employees before they read their employees e-mails or track Web sites they visit, is heading to the governor's desk. The measure, backed by consumer and privacy advocates, passed the Senate this week on a 23-11 vote.

Governor Schwarzenegger will have until September 30th to sign, veto, or let it become law without his signature. Read more.


"SB 1841 requires employers to give employees a one-time written notice if they plan to read e-mail, track Internet use, or use other electronic devices to monitor employees on or off the job. The bill requires employers to explain what will be monitored -- for example employee e-mail content or location based on a GPS-chipped cell phone or car -- but doesn't require employers to tell employees each time they're about to read an e-mail or check an employee's whereabouts."

It is my recollection that many years ago where I worked, we were told that e-mail was the property of the employer. Giving a one time notice doesn't seem too hard--but easy for employees to forget.

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