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As reported by CNN this past Tuesday, March 12, 2013, www.cnn.com, officials at Harvard University “apologized” to various deans whose email accounts they checked to see who, amongst the deans, had possibly forwarded confidential communications concerning the school’s investigation into a student cheating scandal.  To be clear, Harvard only searched school owned accounts and not personal accounts.  However, in failing to tell the deans they were doing so, the school caught the ire of both faculty and students on the grounds of privacy and full disclosure.  While Harvard was well within its rights to review school owned email accounts, this story highlights the need for organizations to clearly state through written policies that such electronic communications are in fact owned by the organization and not the employee, and that no employee should have any expectation of privacy in such a transmission.

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