Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Can attorneys safely use public Wi-Fi?

It's an issue that has aroused some passions amongst the cognoscenti: the appropriateness of an attorney using public Wi-Fi for legal work.  Technology has enabled an attorney to work productivity while mobile, using mobile or internet telephony, laptop computers, and the right legal software.

However, of course, this all requires an internet connection.  Some commentators have expressed the belief that using public Wi-Fi poses a security risk, as since it is generally unsecured (that is, not password protected and/or encrypted), a hacker could access potentially confidential attorney-client information.

A very informative article on Iphone J.D., by Professor Dane Ciolino analyzes a recent 9th circuit decision that directly tackles the question.  In short, Prof. Ciolino concludes that given legal safeguards against hacking and intrusion onto wireless networks, the Court held that there is reasonable presumption that these communications are secure.

One less thing for an attorney to worry about and another reason why the 21st century law office is increasingly less of a traditional office and more an "office from anywhere."