Category Archives: Online Interactions

New ABA Guidance on Protecting Client Confidentiality in E-communications

Yesterday, the American Bar Association issued new guidance on  protecting client confidentiality in electronic communications (Formal Opinion 477, Securing Communication of Protected Client Information).  This guidance updates a 1999 ABA opinion.

According to the new opinion,

A lawyer generally may transmit information relating to the representation of a client over the Internet without violating the Model Rules of Professional Conduct where the lawyer has undertaken reasonable efforts to prevent inadvertent or unauthorized access.

However, a lawyer may be required to take special security precautions to protect against the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of client information when required by an agreement with the client or by law, or when the nature of the information requires a higher degree of security.

Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites has an excellent run-down of the opinion and its importance to legal professionals.

Use of Government Data Online

From a new Pew survey on Government Online:

Government agencies have begun to open up their data to the public, and a surprisingly large number of citizens are showing interest.
Some 40% of adult internet users have gone online for raw data about government spending and activities. This includes anyone who has done at least one of the following:

  • look online to see how federal stimulus money is being spent (23% of internet users have done this);
  • read or download the text of legislation (22%);
  • visit a site such as that provides access to government data (16%); or
  • look online to see who is contributing to the campaigns of their elected officials (14%).

Source: Law Librarian Blog

Estate Planning for Digital Assets

The current issue of InsideTrack from the State Bar of Wisconsin has a useful video on estate planning for digital assets.
Description: After death, will family members know how and where to access sentimental online family photos or other heirlooms? What about online bank, credit card, investment, and social media accounts? In this video, Nate Dosch and Joe Boucher talk about the importance of estate planning for digital assets.

Program: Putting the Wisconsin Idea Online

Next month the UW Madison is hosting a free program called Putting the Wisconsin Idea Online. The program will highlight how campus researchers have used the Web to fulfill the Wisconsin Idea by making their research available not only throughout Wisconsin, but all over the world.
When: 19 October 2010, 9am – 4pm
Where: Memorial Library Commons (room 460)
The program is being organized by Dorothea Salo, Digital Repository Librarian at the UW Madison. Dorothea is well known in the institutional repository and scholarly communications communities. She’ll be giving the opening talk on Who Owns Our Work? Copyright and the Working Researcher.
Other speakers include:

  • Associate Dean Susan C. Cook on UW-Madison’s new electronic dissertation program
  • Julie Schneider, director of Ebling Health Sciences Library, on the NIH Public Access Policy
  • Sam Batzli of the Space Science and Engineering Center on WisconsinView,
  • John Hawks, Kris Olds, and the UW Law School’s own Shubha Ghosh on scholarly weblogging

The full schedule is available on the UW Madison Libraries website. Registering for this event is optional but much appreciated.
This event is scheduled to coincide with Open Access Week 2010.

Lawyers Increasingly Using Facebook; Search Facebook Posts with Openbook

ABA Site-tation has a very interesting post on Facebook Privacy, Lawyer Social Networking, Online Reputation Management, and Case Investigations.
It begins:

According to the 2010 Legal Technology Survey Report: Web and Communication Technology volume lawyer respondents increasingly use social networking sites. Reasons reported include for professional networking (76%), client development (42%), and case investigation (6%). Recent security and privacy issues surrounding Facebook have implications for use of Facebook by lawyers and their clients in the areas of online reputation management and case investigation.

The post also mentions a search engine called Openbook which searches people’s Facebook posts. As the post notes, “Openbook could be used as a tool for online reputation management or case investigation; however, note that different states may have differing ethics rules on the use of social networking sites for case investigation.”
See the full Site-tation post for more.

Copyright Office Declares Mobile Jailbreaking and Video Remixing Are Legal

From PC Magazine:

The Copyright Office within the LOC on Monday ruled that jailbreaking a smartphone – particularly Apple’s iPhone – is permissible under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) fair use provisions.

From Search Engine Watch:

[The Copyright Office also] granted an exemption for people remixing videos on YouTube, declaring it is not a violation of DMCA if they use excerpts from DVDs for the purpose of criticism or comment.

Read the decisions for more information.

Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls with E-documents: Metadata

Metadata is a topic of increasing importance to legal practitioners in sending and receiving electronic documents. The latest issue of InsideTrack from the State Bar of Wisconsin has a good article outlining the basics of metadata and why attorneys should be concerned about it.
Part II of this article, which will appear in the July 7 issue of InsideTrack, will address proper methods of redaction.