E-mail monitoring must protect whistleblowers

Agencies must not engage in e-mail monitoring that could inhibit potential whistleblowers, the White House Office of Special Counsel has warned.

"Although lawful agency monitoring of employee communications serves legitimate purposes, Federal law also protects the ability of workers to exercise their legal rights to disclose wrongdoing without fear of retaliation, which is essential to good government," wrote Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner in a memo. "Indeed Federal employees are required to disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities, and are expected to maintain concern for the public interest, which may include disclosing wrongdoing."

The OSC memo was issued June 20 and distributed to agencies by U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel and General Counsel Boris Bershteyn.

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