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Mon Jan 30, 2012, 09:48 AM

FDA staffers sue agency over surveillance of personal e-mail

Link to Washington Post article


The Food and Drug Administration secretly monitored the personal e-mail of a group of its own scientists and doctors after they warned Congress that the agency was approving medical devices that they believed posed unacceptable risks to patients, government documents show.

The surveillance detailed in e-mails and memos unearthed by six of the scientists and doctors, who filed a lawsuit against the FDA in U.S. District Court in Washington last week took place over two years as the plaintiffs accessed their personal Gmail accounts from government computers.

Information garnered this way eventually contributed to the harassment or dismissal of all six of the FDA employees, the suit alleges. All had worked in an office responsible for reviewing devices for cancer screening and other purposes.
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Reply FDA staffers sue agency over surveillance of personal e-mail (Original post)
Celebration Jan 2012 OP
hlthe2b Jan 2012 #1
Jackpine Radical Jan 2012 #4
BlueIris Jan 2012 #2
bayareaboy Jan 2012 #3
sulphurdunn Jan 2012 #5

Response to Celebration (Original post)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 09:54 AM

1. I suspect they will lose on this, given they used work (federal) computers to access.

The issue of them accessing a Gmail account is the only new aspect that courts have not directly addressed. It is troublesome. But....
The right of privacy has not previously been held up when using work property. I would advise any concerned about such matters to use their cell phone for personal emailing--even if less convenient. Even if your employer tells you that you can do so on their computers while on break. That permission may still not prevent their monitoring your internet browsing, though I'm not sure that directly accessing your personal (nonwork) email account is going to fly.

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 11:20 AM

4. In my days as a state employee, I was very aware of this potential.

It always amazes me that people use their easily-accessed work emails & browsers for activities that their employers might not like.

My solution was to do all non-official stuff on my personal laptop, on a landline while in the office & in public hotspots while on the road. Nowadays I'd probably use some sort of 3G setup (my part of the world hasn't even heard of 4G yet).

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 10:57 AM

2. Gross. The FDA is a shallow parody of meaningful government now. nt

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 11:03 AM

3. With the current "whistle blower" laws around ... ...


It is still wise not to tell the man, agency, or your employer what you are doing without some sort of brick wall for then to hit a few times.

Do it on your own computer.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 12:57 PM

5. None of these former

FDA employees have been accused of doing anything wrong. It's merely a coincidence that the non-renewal of contracts and poor performance reviews happened after they were monitored for making allegations that some very expensive machine made by some very big companies may not work or may actually cause harm.

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