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As employees increasingly use personal devices for work, what can bosses legally access on your computer?




A picture taken on October 17, 2016 shows an employee typing on a computer keyboard at the headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow.
A picture taken on October 17, 2016 shows an employee typing on a computer keyboard at the headquarters of Internet security giant Kaspersky in Moscow.
Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

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An ex-managing director is accusing his former investment firm, Brevet Capital Management LLC, of hacking into his home computer to read his personal emails and obtain data stored on his hard drives.

Paul Iacovacci filed a lawsuit last week in Manhattan federal court alleging that Brevet violated federal anti-hacking laws. But the company denies any hacking activity saying it was authorized to access Iacovacci’s home computer since it was their own property. The lawsuit sheds light on what constitutes a work device.

Employees increasingly use personal devices for work, which leaves a gray area in employment law, including when do employers have the authority to read personal data on a work device. Securities and Exchange Commission regulations require investment firms to monitor employees’ communications.

But where is the line drawn? Did Brevet violate federal anti-hacking laws? What can bosses legally access on your personal device? Our cybersecurity and employment lawyers weigh in

Guests:

Nicole Hong, courts and legal reporter for the Wall Street Journal, who has been following the lawsuit; she tweets at @nicole_hong

Fred Jennings, cybersecurity lawyer at Tor Ekeland Law in New York, who specializes in digital privacy and heads the firm’s information technology program

Jon Hyman, employment lawyer, who represents businesses in labor disputes; his focus includes management-side labor, counseling and drafting employment policies and agreements; he is a partner in the Labor & Employment Group at Cleveland’s Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis; he tweets @jonhyman