With advances in personal technology coming faster than ever, the ways to upload and share client data have never been easier. But easy doesn't always mean ethical for lawyers using free cloud computing and e-mail accounts.
The options are endless for lawyers looking to streamline their office. Yahoo!, MSN, and even Facebook can give attorneys quick access to online cloud and e-mail services.
Among the providers, Google's services are one of the most popular. And surprisingly, they might also be the best option for lawyers looking to avoid client confidentiality violations.
In short, the changes allowed Google to aggregate and track its users' usage data, regardless of the Google service used. The revised TOS meant Google could send more targeted ads to users based on their internet usage.
This might sound like a bad thing in terms of keeping your client's information confidential and secured, but in actuality it's not.
Specifically, Google cut out its original "User communication" term. Under that clause, Google explicitly reserved the right to retain your emails and other communications.
In its place, Google now gets to better track your location, device hardware, and browsing history. The language regarding your private communications appears to have been entirely excised.
But as Google has shown in the past, TOS and privacy policies can always change. So the best advice for cautious lawyers who want to completely avoid ethical violations may still be to stay away from free cloud and e-mail services.