An IT executive turned California e-Discovery Attorney and Consultant shares his personal insights and experience - with an emphasis on facilitating the relationship between legal and technology professionals.
I wouldn't write about it if you weren't doing it. What's "it"? Taking a lackadaisical approach to data protection. The reality, as this study establishes, is that 66% of you aren't taking proper precautions; and your employers/clients are the ones who will suffer.
Obviously you will, too, but I don't think I need to point that out.
It's not surprising to me. It's exactly what I've observed over my many years in corporate environments.
Show of hands...how many of you noted when I posted remotely (by reading the line "Sent from my Verizon Wireless Blackberry" at the conclusion of my posts)? How many of you thought to yourself that it's a bad thing?
You should have thought so.
I allowed it to post as an illustration of how we give up tidbits about ourselves all the time; and how scouring technology accumulates these tidbits to create a profile of us.
I was testing one of the apps that auto-answers messages while I'm driving (pun intended). Awesome tool, really, but all I could think about was how short-sighted it is as designed. Is that the only time I need to auto-answer texts and emails? Why isn't it designed to be used any time I choose?
Technically, it can - if you pay for it. The generic version allows me to modify the outgoing message to say 'I'm unavailable' rather than 'I'm driving', but it adds a tag for Chrysler, then says 'Drive Safely'. Kinda doesn't take much to figure out what I'm doing, does it?
So, with these two benign examples, assuming I used the default settings, what might you know about me?
You know I have a Blackberry (and the type of personal identifier that's paired with my device)
You know my service provider is Verizon (hack away!)
You know when I'm driving (e.g. I'm not home)
In law, the term 'preponderance of the evidence' is used a lot. The individual parts may not matter, but the sum of them might.
Don't idly (pun intended) let these little pieces of evidence (that's exactly what they are) complete the puzzle for those who might do you harm.
Re my signature...hmmm...was that information accurate? I'm not sure...
I hammer away at technology professionals, Hollywood actors, sports stars, business executives and the general public about inappropriate conduct that may get them into hot water - very hot water. It would be unfair if I didn't also shine a spotlight on my own profession (ahem, that would be lawyers).
In an email exchange, an attorney called his opponent "scum sucking", for one. Then things really got nasty - for six months. The result? Both were sanctioned by the Florida Supreme Court. (Then, they got into the clown car and drove away...)
Telephone recordings. Abusive language. Racist slurs. Threats to commit murder. Folks at home, you're no different than Mel. Anything you say or do may end up as an electronic record - and part of a civil or criminal proceeding.
Jurors were texting, making cell phone calls and discussing the case with a bailiff during deliberations; and if that wasn't enough, a prosecutor posted a poem on Facebook with details about the case which was intended to be sung to the theme song from Gilligan's Island.
This is a criminal trial, folks. Somebody's liberty is at stake! I'm by no means a bleeding-heart (after all, I clerked at the L.A. District Attorney's Office during law school), but place yourself in the position of the defendant. This isn't a trial - it's a three-ring circus!
It also begs the question; who lost control of this situation?
We covered the sad state of affairs of passwords back in January. But this blog post from Symantec goes deeper into the issue. I realize it's a fairly small sample and also is likely weighted toward more experienced users, but that should actually prompt you to think about what the general population is doing.
No matter where you fit, be it end-user, employee, IT, attorney, etc., seeing how your peers approach passwords should give you an idea of the true level of security of your data; within and without the enterprise.
Law.com posted this article about cost-effective e-discovery in this time of economic turmoil. Do I think I've covered most of it on this blog before? Yes, but it's a good summary. It also supports what I feel is the real necessity in this - and frankly, most other processes - brain power.
You can take the best software products, hardware, vendors - and anything else you want to toss into the mix, but if the people coordinating and managing them aren't up to the requirements, the entire thing will break down. This is why I'm not impressed when I go to tech shows and the people selling the products are lawyers. They may be lawyers, but when I ask them a few questions, it's clear most of them don't know a thing about e-discovery.
You can put the worst driver in the world behind the wheel of a Yugo or a Rolls Royce - neither will enable them to drive in the Indy 500...or on the 405 freeway...
I like to go to these events to take the temperature of what's going on out in the e-discovery universe and also as a reality check to make sure that I'm delivering relevant information to you.
This was a basic presentation, heavily weighted toward forensic recovery (very few attorneys were present). I thought it was a great basic template, although I think the presenters went afoul of some of the legal aspects (e.g., when the SEC subpoenas data from 40 board members' laptops - as was the case in their theoretical scenario - there is no reality in which a particular board member may image his or her own laptop and submit it (do I hear 'fox guarding the henhouse', anyone?)
With civil and/or criminal penalties at stake, an independent party to authenticate the process and serve as a testifying witness would be required. But hey, that's what we lawyers are here for, right?
All in all, a good presentation. Congratulations to ALSP!