Court rules employees cannot delete their computers

By Derek Sooman on March 13, 2006, 6:03 PM
Employees cannot unlawfully delete their computers before handing them back to their employers, according to the Seventh Circuit United States Appeals Court. The decision centres around a case where Jacob Citrin, a former employee of International Airport Centers (IAC), returned a laptop whose contents had been erased with a deletion program. The Court has ruled that Citrin violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by installing a secure delete program.

During his employment, Citrin was tasked with finding suitable real estate locations for IAC to purchase. He was given a laptop to record information. IAC alleges that he started doing his personal business while still employed at IAC. The company had hoped to find some incriminating evidence on the laptop's hard drive, but Citrin had installed and used a secure deletion program to cover his tracks.

Citrin says that his employment contract authorized him to "return or destroy" the data in the laptop, but the court said that he ceased to be protected by that contract when he started doing his own work.

The Court ruled that Citrin's deletion violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act because he accessed a protected computer without authorization. He was deemed to have had his authorization ceased when he violated his company's loyalty.

User Comments: 6

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crossfire851 said:
This is you buy your own stuff.
barfarf said:
shoot scary stuff. Yeah you totally need to buy your own lappy to get protected.
asphix said:
wow, yeah.. definitely buy your own laptop.. however the company wont always let you use your own hardware. Moral of the story: dont do personal work while on the clock.. or at least not enough to tick off your employer.
mentaljedi said:
Don't play WoW either.
PanicX said:
[b]Originally posted by mentaljedi:[/b][quote]Don't play WoW either.[/quote]Be sure you have the necessary benefits!
Mictlantecuhtli said:
[b]Originally posted by asphix:[/b][quote]Moral of the story: dont do personal work while on the clock.. or at least not enough to tick off your employer.[/quote]Like comment on TechSpot? :P
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