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When a company manager uses his private Gmail account to manage a company he exposes it for review

March 1, 2021
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Liquidators of Australian companies in liquidation proceedings in the Courts in Australia requested to review the Gmail mailboxes of the manager of the companies, who live in Israel, when it is not disputed that the companies in liquidation did not have their own mailboxes and the manager uses his own private accounts to send and receive messages related to the companies in liquidation.
The Court allowed review of the manager's private mailboxes using search words. Whoever creates a mix between his private affairs and the affairs of the companies under his management, is to blame for the invasion of his privacy and a matter of policy, a situation should be avoided where corporate executives choose to use private mailboxes to run the corporation's business, so as to create a virtual "safe-haven" for a rainy day, by mixing corporate messages with private messages and preventing liquidator of the corporation from accessing the messages. When there is an employer-owned mailbox, which is also permitted for the employee's personal use, the employer may not monitor the correspondence the employee maintains for his personal needs in the personal box or in the mixed box, and may not intrude on the employee's personal correspondence in those boxes unless the irregular circumstances exist, and only after the employer has taken less intrusive technological measures that indicate the employee's improper use of technologies made available to him for work purposes and after receiving the employee's approval for any intrusion into private correspondence. In contrast, reviewing professional correspondence does not require specific consent. In any case, in the case of an insolvent company and a request by a liquidator to review a private box, the right to privacy is trumped by the obligation to provide the liquidator with information or documents relating to the company in liquidation. Therefore, there is a right of the liquidators to review the manager's private Gmail account.