The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in U.S. v. Szymuszkiewicz recently affirmed the criminal conviction of an employee under the federal Wiretap Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2511, after he auto-forwarded emails from his supervisor’s email account to his own. The Court concluded the use of the auto-forward feature constituted an “interception” in violation of the Act.

Szymuszkiewicz shows the application of traditional criminal statutes like the Wiretap Act to Internet-based modes of communications such as email, but also to voice-over IP phone communications. The case also is an example of the courts’ continuing struggle with applying the Act to modern communications technologies such as email. Szymuszkiewicz is an instructive reminder for employers, however, about the remedies applicable under the Act to employees who misuse an employer’s email system actions, in addition to traditional remedies such as discipline or termination. In light of the length of time in which Szymuszkiewicz forwarded his supervisor’s emails without her knowledge, 3 years, the case also highlights a need for review and audit of employer technology systems and education to employees to monitor their accounts for privacy purposes.

Continue Reading Court Finds Use of Microsoft Outlook’s Auto Forward Feature is an “Interception” and Upholds Criminal Conviction of Employee Under the Federal Wiretap Law