NSA monitoring & your attorney-client communications: Can your practice survive Big Brother?

Posted on 09-26-2013 by
Tags: Trending News & Topics , communications , attorney-client communications

 Admit it. When you read about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program, you thought, “Interesting, but I’m probably not on the NSA’s radar.” Well, maybe you’re not as insulated as you think. One of my favorite blogs of 2013 reads like a spy novel, but of greater importance, it shows that NSA monitoring is something all lawyers should think about.

In a two part series (prt 1) (prt 2), Thomas H. Clarke, Jr. and Lael D. Andara discuss the impact of NSA monitoring technologies on attorney-client communications. For the sake of your practice, take heed of their warning: “Ignorance is risk.”

The authors pose some very important questions, such as:

  • What obligations require attorneys to protect their client communications?
  • What practical steps can be taken to meet statutory and ethical obligations related to confidentiality?
  • Is there a real risk, or is the risk limited to action movies?

They offer a single sentence that should motivate you to read their two part blog: “The government has the technology to monitor all attorney-client electronic communications.” [emphasis added]. Because of these technologies, attorneys need to weigh the security and privacy risks of their modes of attorney-client communication.

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