Apple's 'Barely Legal Teen' Snafu and Google Cause Privacy Panics - Technologist
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Apple's 'Barely Legal Teen' Snafu and Google Cause Privacy Panics

Lawyerly folks have a few specialized concerns that most non-lawyers wouldn't have to deal with, such as client confidentiality, remaining nonjudgmental and impartial when our clients do stupid and immoral things, and of course, data security. While lots of users are concerned with privacy, security, and confidentiality, most users don't face the prospect of a malpractice suit should their chosen software suite fail.

The ABA Model Rules require that lawyers take reasonable steps towards protecting clients' data. What's reasonable? Reading this blog, and staying up to date with security concerns is a good start. Here are a couple of issues involving email providers that you should be aware of, along with a long-forgotten alternative.

Apple's 'Barely Legal Teen' Snafu

Hey, we can't say it's our favorite phrase. We're almost certain that if any emails are in our inboxes with that phrase, they are unsolicited pornography advertisements.

Still, it probably isn't the greatest move by Apple to outright delete every message in iCloud that contains the "barely legal teen" phrase. We're not talking filtering it into a separate folder - we're talking deletion, according to The Verge.

Let's say you have a statutory rapist for a client. There's a chance that he uses that phrase. Probably not, but there is a chance.

Or perhaps Apple takes offense to another phrase. Their Terms of Service allow them to do pretty much whatever they want:

Apple reserves the right at all times to determine whether Content is appropriate and in compliance with this Agreement, and may pre-screen, move, refuse, modify and/or remove Content at any time, without prior notice and in its sole discretion, if such Content is found to be in violation of this Agreement or is otherwise objectionable.

For most people, losing an email or two is no big deal. For lawyers? That could mean a missed hearing, angry client, or any number of unfortunate scenarios.

Google's Privacy Policy and TOS

We went into this at length last month, but it bears reminder: Google has robots scan your email for purposes of displaying relevant advertisements. They can also use anything that you post to any of their services for promotional purposes, but as we interpret restrictions provided by the combination of their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy together, we'd imagine that posting your clients' emails on a billboard wouldn't actually happen.

Still, it's a consideration.

Where to Turn

Apple deletes emails. Google scans emails. Who else is there? You may have to turn back to the "evil empire" known as Microsoft. Outlook is allegedly far more protective of the consumer than their competitors and they offer a free version. Though we were in no rush to return to Redmond, we'll take a closer look at the new Outlook.com later this week and we'll dig through the Outlook privacy policy - just in case.

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