TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Schools Prohibit Personal E-mail Sites

Re: Schools Prohibit Personal E-mail Sites
8 Jun 2005 10:18:15 -0700

Robert Bonomi wrote:

> In private industry, and employer can allow use of company property
> for non-work activities by employees -- e.g. using the copy machine to
> run off flyeres for a local club activity.
> In a federal government agency, if an employee does that it they are
> comitting a *crime* -- one with _prison time_ attached to it.

There are state government agencies where that is NOT that case.
There are private sector units that mirror the Fed policy you state

I would be extremely surprised if people were sent to prison solely
for personal use of a federal copier machine. However, some private
firms are very fussy about employee theft and have criminally charged
their employees.

> 1) No pornography
> Doesn't meet the 'SAYING specific things is forbidden' requirement.
> Not a 'speech' issue.

It most certainly is a speech issue. If someone writes something
pornographic in nature it is forbidden. Thus, specific speech is
indeed restricted.

> I can cite a Supreme Court ruling expressly invalidating a
> governmental unit 'dress code' item that forbade the wearing of
> certain items of apparel.

Virtually every government organization I know has a dress code. You
may be referring to very narrow situations. (There's a case in the
NYC subway system over wearing a religious turban and hat badge. It's
ONE case out of 50,000 employees).

> An organization in 'private industry' would have had *NO* problem
> enforcing that particular dress-code item..

Actually, in some cases private employers have gotten into trouble on
some dress code requirements.

> *HOW* you said those things is what gets the summons for "disorderly
> CONDUCT". It is the _conduect_ that is the problem, not the language.

>> If I threaten to kill you,
>> you can have me arrested and convicted for making threats.

> You're obviously ignorant of the existing 'case law' on *that* point.
> With the exception of a remark of that nature about the President of
> the United States, one cannot be charged/convicted *just* for making
> such a remark.

If what you say is true, there's a lot of people wrongly in trouble
and fined or even jailed by local courts for making terroristic
threats. The "how" was irrelevent, it was the threat that counts.
Whether it was shouted or whispered, or discretely written on a piece
of paper didn't matter. Indeed, some of the quietest threats are
treated the most seriously.

[rest snipped]

I am not lawyer nor claim to be a legal expert. However, I have quite
a number of years out there and have seen quite a few things over and
over again.

Basically, I do not agree with your post. My real issue on
disagreement is not on case law but rather actual practice.

On some of your arguments, frankly, you seem to be splitting hairs.

That does not resolve the question in terms of real life practice.

The reality is that there are many laws that are not enforced and
people get away with stuff. Likewise, we have theorectically rights
that we can't effectively exercise because it would be too expensive
or time-consuming to fight for them. One of the things a good lawyer
does is advise on the reality of a particular situation. "Yes, you're
absolutely right but to fight them will cost $100,000 in legal fees."

Stating what is on paper seriously misses the issue. Actual practice
is what counts.

(If I may point out, in another discussion on Autovon phones, you said
those phones were "standard". There may be a piece of paper saying
just that, but the vast majority of Touch Tone phones out there do not
comply with that standard because they don't have the fourth column.
Indeed, there are a lot of official technical standards out there that
are basically ignored and unwritten practices that are essentially

FWIW, in a previous discussion it was insisted certain estate legal
certifications were required. I was just working with some one on
that and the cited certifications were not required to deal with an
external agency to obtain a refund. Again, what is said on paper is
not always reality.

Anyone with a legal question should consult a competent reputable
attorney. (How to find one that is competent? Tough to say.)

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