Friday, June 26, 2015

More on Software and Your Confidentiality Obligations

Anyone love Siri? How about Alexa ("the brain behind [Amazon's] Echo")?

These digital personal assistants make your life easier, but have you considered whether their use affects client confidentiality? Check out one blogger's analysis here: What All Law Firms Need to Know About Siri. The gist?
[A] Reddit user discussed having access to voice recordings from random Apple and Samsung customers that were generated through text-to-speech technologies, such as Siri, while working for a data mining company. The user, FallenMyst, shared this experience to serve as a warning to mobile users that their data may not be as private or personal as they might assume.
It's easy to say "Oh Grandpa, it's not big deal---it's just an app. Get over it." And I'm not writing that these apps (or Gmail if you read the last blog post here) are inherently not to be used lest you violate any professional ethics violations.

But if you do love new technology, it's time to get used to the idea that you should (1) read Terms of Use for these tools . . . even when you get the notice that says the terms may have changed and your continued use constitutes acceptance of the new terms; (2) understand how the technology works from a technical point of view; and (3) do your research.

Helpfully, you have at least two options for your research. Check out some of the Tech Overviews & Charts at the ABA's Legal Technology Resource Center. Or, consider requesting an Advisory Opinion from the Ohio Board of Conduct.