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.)

Banking and the Internet

I am currently writing an essay for my Banking law class, with a focus on how the Internet is transforming the way consumers bank.

In Bank 3.0, Brett King remarks that the Internet has displaced the bank branch. Historically, the bank branch was at the core of banking. We have gone from being “dependent on a branch to dependent on the utility of the bank… Now with Internet banking being the primary day-to-day channel for banking in most of the world and branch visitation down, everything is moving to mobile.”

Right now banks are relying on external software like the Google or iPhone Wallet to provide the framework that emulates the card in the phone. Consequently, banks are losing the opportunity to link everyday payments to the bank account.

Clayton Christensen frequently warns about outsourcing a company’s future activities. By allowing new players to own the mobile payment experience, banks are outsourcing the future of banking.