MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A new state rule taking effect Friday allows administrators at Minnesota's state colleges and universities to inspect employee-owned cellphones and mobile devices if they're used for work.

Faculty union members say the rule violates the privacy of thousands of employees who use their personal cellphones and computers to do their work. Minnesota State College Faculty president Kevin Lindstrom tells the Star Tribune the rule is "a free pass to go on a fishing expedition."

College and university officials say they are obligated under state law to protect any government data that may be on the devices. For the first time the rule spells out the requirement that employees should hand over their personal devices for a variety of reasons, including security issues or misconduct investigations.

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