Protect your data

June 10, 2010
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IL staff writer Rebecca Berfanger wrote this post.

The June edition of the Evansville Bar Association newsletter, the E-Summation, had a brief article explaining how even copiers might have data chips that store information, including images of anything that is scanned on them, and that attorneys should be aware of this. Bottom line: Just because you take your copies and originals with you, it doesn’t mean no one else can access those images later.

This makes sense, as I’ve used the copier at our office to make PDFs, and many copiers have this capability as a way to save time and paper when trying to e-mail a document or when posting something online as a PDF.

While Susan Vollmer, the executive director of the EBA, said she wasn’t aware of a specific case of this occurring to any lawyers in southwest Indiana, she included it in the newsletter because an attorney member of the organization sent her a message about the concern, including a link to this YouTube video

There was also an attorney who mentioned this at the Indiana State Bar Association’s Solo and Small Firm Conference on June 4 at a CLE session about security for law firms. That session was led by Lincoln Mead, IT director of the Utah State Bar Association, who was also one of the speakers at the Tech Camp June 3.

While most of what Mead said at the June 4 session was about how to protect information coming in and out of a law firm – including various types of server hardware, how to detect viruses and spyware, and security concerns that larger firms would generally hire an IT department to keep an eye on – he mentioned that printers might store information without a user’s knowledge.

After he mentioned this, an observer in the room also brought up the issue of copiers holding information. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to flag him down afterward, so it’s possible it was the same attorney who sent this information to Vollmer or someone who may have read or heard about this from the E-Summation. Or it’s possible someone may have accessed information he had scanned at what he assumed was a secure copier.

Another security tip anyone can benefit from: Anything that stores information shouldn’t leave the building, except in teeny tiny pieces, Mead said. He suggested that if firms want to donate old computers to schools, non-profits, or anyone else who could benefit from them, they should. But first, they should have a day where the kids come in and, with hammers, destroy any chips that might have information on them, even if the data was erased already.

He also suggested that when firms shred old documents, they not only shred, but that they burn or pulp the bits of paper, whichever their state allows, as a way to ensure no one else will ever access confidential information.

Have you used any of these methods to protect information? Will you consider it from now on?
 

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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  2. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  4. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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