EFF Action Alert: Stop Net Monitoring of Federal Judges' Internet Use. EFF Requests Citizen Comments to Judicial Conference (Issued: Friday, August 31, 2001 / Deadline: September 11, 2001)
On September 11, the Judicial Conference of the United States will consider mandating Internet use monitoring for all employees of the federal judiciary, judges included. The Administrative Office of the Courts, which already secretly monitored Internet use without consent, worries that “a significant factor contributing to the growth of [Internet] traffic appear(s) to be related to personal, rather than business usage,” even though Internet usage immediately and dramatically declined voluntarily in response to an appropriate-use memo that office sent out in March. Moreover, judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered a one-week shutdown of the monitoring asserting that it is inappropriate and possibly illegal.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) believes that if we can't trust judicial employees to use computers appropriately, then we shouldn't trust them to administer our courts. The intrusive monitoring of e-mail, Internet usage, case-related materials, and even private correspondence — perhaps to be conducted by an outside commercial company — raises serious privacy issues.Regardless of the legalities, spying on employees is bad policy, and anathema to a working environment that would otherwise attract trusted professionals and produce outstanding performance. [Privacy Digest]