Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Privacy and Security In the 21st Century.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | April 30, 2017

No. 1,319

DogEverybody needs privacy.  But the internet has a strange way of giving it to the undeserving, like hackers, and taking it away from those who need it most, like lawyers and their clients.

A lawyer has an ethical duty to protect a client’s confidences and that duty is becoming increasingly difficult.  We receive numerous suspicious emails every day.  Some are easily spotted as frauds, while others are so smooth you cannot tell them from authentic ones.  We even get phony client inquiries (embedded with poison links) through the AVVO system. Address book hijackings are pretty common, too.  That is why I refused to open a link sent to me by a long ago former client whom I have not spoken to for years in an email the other day.  If you want me to read something, don’t send me a link, please.  Send me the opened document.  If its too big, use drop box.

So what do you do when security is paramount?  Here’s a few ideas:

  1. Send a fax.
  2. Encrypt.There is even a password encryption that is available through Microsoft Word.
  3. Encode. Write your own code.  Deliver the key by hand or fax.
  4. Deliver it by courier. Law firms used to do it all day long before faxing caught on.
  5. Keep it to yourself. As Franklin said: Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead.




CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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