Are our cellphones violating solicitor-client privilege?

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Are cellphones violating solicitor-client privilege? Probably.

Solicitor-client privilege requires confidentiality between lawyers and their clients. But this confidentiality could be violated by our cellphones. For example, we are frequently downloading apps onto our cellphones. These apps often gain access to our camera, contacts, microphone, and location.

It is not a far stretch to see how an app on a cellphone could be used for a nefarious purpose. Even to blackmail a lawyer.

For example, a cellphone’s microphone can easily be turned on to record conversations, without the user knowing it. Similarly, a cellphone’s email can be hacked. As we are often connecting our cellphones to wireless networks that we are unfamiliar with.

The best way to preempt potential privacy breaches is for cellphones to build in privacy by design. Perhaps with building in a mechanism that alerts users when apps are proposing to gain access to sensitive information, in the moment it is happening. Rather than just a warning hidden in the fine print.

Allowing apps to bury privacy violating features in terms of use that no one wants to read, including lawyers, is ultimately a disservice to users and a potential threat to confidentiality.

(Views are my own and do NOT represent the views of any organization.)

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