The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces recently ruled that a service member who received notice that she was required to undergo a random urinalysis test, and who e-mailed several other people to discuss her strategies for beating the tests to avoid discovery of her drug use, was not sufficiently informed of the DoD policy that employees have no right of privacy when using government computer systems. It set aside the findings, and her sentence.
In response, the US Department of Defense has replaced its decade-old banner warning with a new one. The banner notifies users that their systems may be monitored for “penetration testing, (communications security), monitoring, network defense, quality control, and employee misconduct, law enforcement and counterintelligence investigations,” adding that all security systems in place are there to provide security for the benefit of the government, not to provide personal privacy to employees. A related notice will appear on government BlackBerry devices and other personal digital assistants and personal electronic devices.
Members of the defense community sending emails to colleagues in the Pentagon, or otherwise working with DoD employees, need to keep these things in mind. USAF release.