Cyber House Rules

By Bill Maher

New Rule: Either public employees have to get rid of their electronic devices or America's maturity level has to catch up to technology. It happened again just a couple weeks ago: Nebraska Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy, who many say was a shoo-in to be the state's next governor, resigned abruptly after it was discovered that he had made thousands of late-night calls on his state-issued cell phone to four different women who were not his wife. He apparently made these calls from his garage: "Honey, if you need me, I'll be beating off next to the lawn mower."

Now, this Sheehy is a Republican from Nebraska and probably a douche, but how many competent, effective public servants do we have to lose to this gotcha game of electronic retrieval? If Rick Sheehy or Anthony Weiner or General David Petraeus are taking care of business at the office during the day, I don't care what series of forbidden keystrokes they're typing at night.

Sheehy's mistake was that he used his work cell phone -- which is subject to public records requests -- and a local paper decided to go fishing. Which is ironic because out in the garage is also where Sheehy keeps his fishing equipment. 

It used to be you had to physically catch the guy at the rest stop with the prostitute. Now, a newspaper can access phone logs or any cyber-geek can hack into private communiqués and bring down an otherwise solid career from the comfort of his mom's basement. And this crap doesn't just happen to men.

Arizona police lieutenant Diana Lopez was just busted down to patrol sergeant because she sent some sexy, but not obscene, videos and pictures of herself to a fellow cop who was her boyfriend, and he, of course, showed them around the precinct. And last year beloved New York school guidance counselor Tiffany Webb was fired after some lingerie shots she posed for nearly 20 years ago popped up on the Internet.

Since it seems abundantly clear that, left to their own devices, people will get into trouble with their own devices, don't we need to adjust to this no-privacy technological world we live in and raise the bar for what constitutes a career-ending offense?