Tagged: Computer Systems

Think Before You Send: Communications to an Attorney Using Work Email May Not Be Protected Under the Attorney-Client Privilege 0

Think Before You Send: Communications to an Attorney Using Work Email May Not Be Protected Under the Attorney-Client Privilege

Generally, a confidential email sent to one’s personal attorney is protected under the attorney-client privilege. But what if the communication is sent using a business email account? Will a corporate policy entitling the company to access “all communications” sent on work computers undermine the privilege? Followers of this blog will recall, among other posts, our detailed recap of the extensive discussion of this issue at our Annual E-Discovery Conference in the wake of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc., upholding the privilege where the employee used a company computer to communicate with her attorney via a personal password-protected internet based e-mail account, and sanctioning the employer’s attorneys for failing to turn over the protected communications. Readers may also recall our discussion of US v. Hamilton, where the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that a husband waived the marital communications privilege when he sent messages from his work email account to his wife, but took no steps to protect their sanctity. Since those decisions, courts nationwide have continued to wrestle with these issues. Most recently, a Delaware Court held an employee waived the attorney client privilege where he used his work email account to email his lawyer with knowledge of the company’s policy establishing its right to access all communications on work computers.

Final Cybersecurity Framework Released in Furtherance of President Obama’s Executive Order 0

Final Cybersecurity Framework Released in Furtherance of President Obama’s Executive Order

On Wednesday, February 12, the White House released the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Final Cybersecurity Framework: a set of industry best practices and standards to help owners and operators of critical infrastructure develop better cybersecurity programs. It is accompanied by a Roadmap which discusses NIST’s next steps with the Framework and identifies key areas of development, alignment, and collaboration. The Framework stems from President Obama’s February 2013 Executive Order on cybersecurity, previously covered on October 1, 2013. The overall core of the Framework is essentially unchanged from earlier drafts, also previously discussed on October 28, 2013.

In Today’s World, Companies Face Large Exposure from a Wide Variety of Possible Data Breaches 0

In Today’s World, Companies Face Large Exposure from a Wide Variety of Possible Data Breaches

As the world becomes more interconnected, data breaches and cyber-attacks are increasingly becoming an unfortunate reality for many organizations. The stakes are high: a data security breach can disrupt a company’s operations, damage the business’s reputation, cause its stock price to fall, lead to the loss of business, and attract government investigations, agency action, and class action lawsuits. Complicating matters is the fact that a patchwork of state and federal laws can apply to the same data security breach incident.

Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework Released in Furtherance of President Obama’s Executive Order 0

Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework Released in Furtherance of President Obama’s Executive Order

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has just released its Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework: a set of best practices to help owners and operators of critical infrastructure reduce cybersecurity risks. This voluntary framework provides both private and public-sector organizations with a common language for understanding and managing cybersecurity risks internally and externally. The framework stems from President Obama’s February 2013 Executive Order on cybersecurity, previously covered by this blog. The Final Framework is due to be released in February 2014, following a 45-day public comment period on the Preliminary Framework.

Update of Proposed Rule Changes: A Universal Federal Sanctions Standard for the Failure to Preserve ESI Could be a Reality 0

Update of Proposed Rule Changes: A Universal Federal Sanctions Standard for the Failure to Preserve ESI Could be a Reality

The United States Courts’ Advisory Committee on Civil Rules (“the Committee”) has proposed various amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that, if adopted, will profoundly affect the range and scope of sanctions a court may impose for failures to preserve electronically stored information (“ESI”). F.R.C.P. 37(e), which currently addresses sanctions in those instances, is one of several rules slated for amendment.

An International Standard for E-Discovery? 0

An International Standard for E-Discovery?

The International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) is forming a new e-discovery committee tasked with the development of standards for e-discovery processes and procedures. The international standard “would provide guidance on measures, spanning from initial creation of [electronically stored information] through its final disposition which an organization can undertake to mitigate risk and expense should electronic discovery become an issue” according to a draft committee charter.

Use of Work Computer Results in Waiver of Marital Communication Privilege 0

Use of Work Computer Results in Waiver of Marital Communication Privilege

In U.S. v. Hamilton, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found that a husband who sent messages from his work email account to his wife, yet took no steps to protect the sanctity of those emails, waived the marital communications privilege, thus subjecting the emails to disclosure during discovery. This case serves as an important reminder that employees do not necessarily enjoy an expectation of privacy in the emails they send from their work accounts or while using their employers’ computers.

ABA Formal Opinion 11-460 is at Odds With Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc. 0

ABA Formal Opinion 11-460 is at Odds With Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc.

The American Bar Association recently published Formal Opinion 11-460 to provide guidance to attorneys regarding their ethical duty upon discovering emails between a third party and the third party’s attorney. The Opinion interprets Model Rule 4.4(b) literally, concluding that neither that rule nor any other requires an attorney to notify opposing counsel of receipt of potentially privileged communications. The Opinion is of particular note because it directly contradicts the New Jersey Supreme Court’s opinion in Stengart v. Loving Care Agency. Inc. 201 N.J. 300 (2010).

The Role of Lawyers in the Age of Electronic Discovery  —  Don’t Hit Delete! 0

The Role of Lawyers in the Age of Electronic Discovery — Don’t Hit Delete!

Will developments in technology make lawyers more efficient or will they become extinct? A March 2011 article in The New York Times, entitled “Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software,” discussed the significant efficiency and accuracy of e-discovery software in document review over that of human review. Although technology has enabled computers to imitate humans’ ability to reason at even higher levels, rest assured that Armageddon is not looming on the legal profession’s horizon.

How Useful is Facebook’s “Download Your Information” Feature in E-Discovery? 0

How Useful is Facebook’s “Download Your Information” Feature in E-Discovery?

In October 2010, Facebook announced a new Download Your Information (“DYI”) feature, billed as “an easy way to quickly download to your computer everything you’ve ever posted on Facebook and all your correspondences with friends: your messages, wall posts, photos, status updates and profile information.” The Facebook announcement included a short video detailing how to use the feature. Cnet TV has a more in-depth video. Craig Ball also wrote an article about this feature in the February 23, 2011 issue of Law Technology News.