At one point in my career at the University of Washington, during the Great Recession, I was laid off. After I was rehired into a new position, it was mandatory to attend new-employee orientation to have benefits reinstated. During the meeting, the speaker mentioned assigning a UW email account to new employees (this was way before the prevalence of smartphones and 24-hour social-media access). The two young women next to me were excited to be getting email accounts. Since I knew about proprietary access of a work entity to access a work email, I purposely asked, “Isn’t it true that the UW can monitor email addresses within their domain?” The instructor said, “Yes, because this email is administered by UW, the right situation could be cause for accessing all of an employee’s online communications.” The women next to me sighed: What? It’s not private?
Our legislators need to abide by the same standards: If you’re using a state-sponsored email, the public deserves the right to view said correspondence.
Marilynn F. McGlashan, Mountlake Terrace
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