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Cloud Computing Fine for Attorney Client Privilege. The Alabama Bar’s Disciplinary Commission has recently ruled that cloud computing is fine for use by attorneys without raising confidentiality concerns as long as an attorney makes sure that the website storing client data maintains confidentiality and provides proper access to client information for retrieval. The key document is ETHICS OPINION 2010‐02 “Retention, Storage, Ownership, Production and Destruction of Client Files.”
In particular, the Disciplinary Commission stated that it:
“Has determined that a lawyer may use “cloud computing” or third‐party providers to store client data provided that the attorney exercises reasonable care in doing so.
The duty of reasonable care requires the lawyer to become knowledgeable about how the provider will handle the storage and security of the data being stored and to reasonably ensure that the provider will abide by a confidentiality agreement in handling the data. Additionally, because technology is constantly evolving, the lawyer will have a continuing duty to stay abreast of appropriate security safeguards that should be employed by the lawyer and the third‐party provider. If there is a breach of confidentiality, the focus of any inquiry will be whether the lawyer acted reasonably in selecting the method of storage and/or the third party provider.”
This is a terrific vindication for cloud computing services, and follows up on a similar ruling by the Nevada State Bar.