Emory Policy on Email Searches Explained

In light of recent news reports of secret email account searches at Harvard, in April the Council heard a report about Emory’s policies on responding to requests for access to monitor email accounts or other network communications of students or employees. Emory’s Chief Information Security Officer Brad Sanford explained that the IT Conditions of Use Policy states, “Authorized Emory staff may without notice monitor, inspect, or copy network communications, IT resources, and the data they contain. Use of the Emory network and/or IT resources constitutes consent to such monitoring.” He added, however, that “this is not a routine or continuous process.” Rather, it is an uncommon practice that is “only done in certain special circumstances where we feel that either the law or Emory policies are being violated, or Emory business processes are being threatened.” Written requests for searching email must detail specifics, including purpose, and are only approved by consensus among general counsel and several enterprise-wide senior officers of the university.


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