Confidentiality in a Wired World

Lawyers struggle with technology and managing their clients’s confidential information in a professional manner.  Meeting the standards set by ethics bodies in North America – which tend to require both competent representation and reasonable safeguards to protect information – doesn’t stop the regular occurrence of inadvertent disclosure.  This presentation was prepared for a one-hour session for lawyers newly arrived in Canada who are joining the presentation here.  I’ve given this presentation before (here, here, and here), but always update the slide deck.  In part, this is possible because lawyers continually lose client information.  November 2011 was a banner month, unfortunately.

I have shifted away from discussing specific technologies directly, but refer to them in a handout for the session.  Here are the ones I mentioned this time around:


PIPEDA and Your Practice:  A Privacy Handbook for Lawyers
Office of the Privacy Commissioner


ABA Formal Opinion 11-459:  Duty to Protect the Confidentiality of E-mail Communications with One’s Client

Microsoft Word metadata

Payne Group Metadata Scrubber


How to Avoid the Most Common and Dangerous  Passwords, Zonealarm Top 20 Passwords Infographic

Password Meter


Windows 7 Ultimate/Enterprise Bitlocker
(certain versions of Windows Vista also support Bitlocker)

Windows 7 Professional / Ultimate / Enterprise Encrypted File System (EFS)

Macintosh OS X Lion FileVault 2

(older versions of the OS use different version of FileVault) (Windows, Mac, Linux) encryption and security software

Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security

Checkpoint endpoint encryption

Symantec whole disk encryption

Most of these software developers (Mcafee, Trend Micro, Checkpoint, etc.) also sell anti-virus and anti-malware software.  If you use Windows, try the free Microsoft Windows Defender (XP, Vista, and Windows 7)

 Other free alternatives include AVG and Avast.  ClamAV works on both Windows (Immunet) and Mac (

Mobile Apps

Electronic Frontier Foundation HTTPS Everywhere (Firefox Plug-in)

Kensington Locking Cables for Laptops, Desktops
[Check your local office supply store]

Prey (Device Recovery) (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)

Apple iCloud (formerly MobileMe) Remote Lock / Wipe


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David Whelan
I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.