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Stop Reading Your Kids' Text Messages

Privacy has been on my mind the last couple of days. The other day, I talked to a woman who told me she reads her kids' text messages. She eyeballs every line of text they receive.
Privacy has been on my mind the last couple of days. The other day, I talked to a woman who told me she reads her kids' text messages. She eyeballs every line of text they receive.My colleague, Mitch Wagner, writes about a court case in which a company argues it has the right to read a former employee's personal e-mail. So there's a lot of chatter around this topic.

The woman's kids know she's looking at their SMS missives. She says she's only doing it to make sure they're safe from creeps. And yet, I find it an appalling breach of trust between child and parent.

Full disclosure: I don't have kids. It shouldn't matter, but many who read this will wonder. What I do have is a keen interest in matters of privacy. So let's pick this apart:

The woman told me that her sons are in middle school, and that they're good kids, who don't get into trouble. Don't they have a reasonable expectation of privacy?, I asked. "Not when I pay the phone bills," came the reply.

I'm no lawyer, but this situation stinks, and these kids need an advocate. I'd gladly represent them in Fake Privacy Court. Here's how what I'd tell the fake judge:

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Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
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Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing