Is it morally acceptable when an employer reads his or hers employees email? My belief is that if its my email, addressed to me and no one else, then I"m the only one should be reading my email. I feel that private emails should be just that, private, and not to be viewed by anyone but the intended recipient. While this business practice of monitoring incoming and outgoing email has been implemented for a while, most people, including myself, did not know that emails are being monitored. Being in the military, I found out first hand when I was stationed in Hawaii. The Division I was assigned too had installed the software Windows NT too better monitor what users were viewing. Administrators were assigned to monitor computer usage of the internet and websites service members were using and also blocking those that were not in the interests of the division. Windows Microsoft Outlook is the site used for sending and receiving email during the day-to-day conduct of Army business. Now, Windows NT may not directly monitor my private email but it does monitor the websites that I use to send and receive my private email. This I was not aware off until recently. However, is it legal for employers to monitor your email? .
According to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986, "the law prohibits unauthorized interception of various electronic communications including email" . So how do employers continue this activity without any action taken against them? The ECPA, believe it or not, also protects the employers by excluding the services (email, internet, etc.) that they provide to its employees. Since employer's provide the email and internet services in order for employee's to do their job's, employer's are not held, in most cases, liable of violating said law. Most employees are unaware that it's legal for their employer's to monitor their email. Even though the ECPA is suppose to protect the employee from prying eyes, the employee's reasonable expectation of privacy, especially in the workplace, is minmal at best.