Email Encryption For Everyone

The recent confirmation that the US government, through the NSA’s PRISM surveillance, collects massive amounts of electronic data is really only the tip of the iceburg when viewed in light of all of the potential exposure email has to unauthorized access. From hackers to governments to law enforcement to targeted espionage to identity thieves, there are many who may want to access and view your email and its attachments.

Depending on the type of client you represent and the work you do unencrypted email exchange may not provide enough protection for confidential communication. The ABA’s formal opinion from 1999 on email encryption (99-413) generally allows for use of email to communicate with clients, but also provides the caveat that “when the lawyer reasonably believes that confidential client information being transmitted is so highly sensitive that extraordinary measures to protect the transmission are warranted, the lawyer should consult the client as to whether another mode of transmission is, such as special messenger delivery, is warranted..”

Much has changed since 1999. Commentary in the opinion states: “[t]he Committee believes that e-mail communications, including those sent unencrypted over the Internet, pose no greater risk of interception or disclosure than other modes of communication commonly relied upon as having a reasonable expectation of privacy. The level of legal protection accorded e-mail transmissions, like that accorded other modes of electronic communication, also supports the reasonableness of an expectation of privacy for unencrypted e-mail transmissions. ” Read in light of the known, legal interception of email transmission by the government and the increased use of webmail services that offer free service in exchange for access to the text of the email is it still reasonable to rely on an expectation of privacy and legal protection of email transmissions?

There are a variety of ways to encrypt email communications. For large firms working with corporate clients, firms representing governments, lawyers representing political prisoners and other circumstances may require an end to end encryption solution such as PGP to be set up and used by both parties. Once in place the process is relatively seamless. Lifehacker provides a great guide on end to end encryption for email clients and webmail..

However, lawyers who work with consumer clients including estate planning, family law, bankruptcy, criminal, real estate, civil rights etc. may not have a long term relationship with their clients or have the level of sensitivity in the communication that warrants a long term encryption key exchange. For those situations attorneys can still encrypt email on a short term or case by case basis by using some of the “on demand” email encryption options available. These tools are often free for limited use and while they do not provide the level of protection afforded by traditional email encryption they do provide some peace of mind. The article Easy Encryption for Email is Not an Oxymoron provides information on three such services that employ different models for protection. To see these easy encryption options in action check out the How To… video from the Chicago Bar Association’s LPMT.

Power up the free Google Calendar

There’s plenty to take advantage of in the free Google Calendar—features like creating and sharing multiple calendars, “quick add” smart appointments and the ability to make calendars public. In this article I dig in to unearth a few neat tricks to integrate your Calendar more tightly with Gmail and Tasks. With some exploring and clicking, you will find the free Google Calendar and productivity tools are quite robust, and with a little know-how, have more integration than meets the eye. Check it out … 

Want more? Watch the training video from the Chicago Bar Association and check out these articles and resources:

Chrome: The Browser That Works

Google’s Chrome web browser is a stable, fast, and functional piece of software used to access the Internet.  For many years Microsoft’s Internet Explorer dominated the browser market, followed by Mozilla’s Firefox.  Google released Chrome in September 2008, and now its usage has surpassed Firefox and Internet Explorer globally.  However, Internet Explorer is still the leader in North America according to StatCounter Top 5 Browsers in North America from Sept. 2008 to Oct 2012. This especially holds true for U.S. lawyers, who according to the 2012 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report Vol. II,  primarily use Microsoft Internet Explorer at 85%, followed by Firefox at 30%, and finally Google Chrome at 22%. So, what does the rest of the world find so appealing in Google’s Chrome? Let’s take a look!

Read more: Google’s Chrome Browser

Layering Security: Two Factor Authentication

“In the space of one hour, my entire digital life was destroyed. First my Google account was taken over, then deleted. Next my Twitter account was compromised, and used as a platform to broadcast racist and homophobic messages. And worst of all, my AppleID account was broken into, and my hackers used it to remotely erase all of the data on my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.”

Thus starts the story of Mat Honan, a writer for Wired Magazine. Mat’s story should be a cautionary tale for all, especially lawyers whose duties to maintain the confidentiality of client data extend the need for added security beyond just personal inconvenience.  Mat admits that much of what happened could have been avoided by using two factor authentication on his Google account and other security measures.  So, why didn’t he do it? Because adding layers of security means adding a layer of complication, and sometimes inconvenience. However, to unravel from a firm security breach or hack would be even more inconvenient.

Google’s Gmail, Google Chrome, LastPass, Dropbox, WordPress and many other popular services have added an extra layer of security that a user must enable called “two factor authentication”.  The concept of this security is that a person cannot access another user’s account without something she knows and something she has. In the case of these popular services the solution is a strong password plus a secondary code that is sent via text to a smartphone or mobile device.  Both are required to access the account. For two factor access to laptops there are devices like USB tokens and smart cards that must be plugged in for the machine to boot up. Likewise you can buy external biometric security devices, such as a fingerprint reader, which is a substitution for what the user has to what the user is.

The SANS Institute OUCH! newsletter this month provides further information and links on two factor authentication for popular online services. When enabling two factor authentication make sure to read all the instructions carefully. Matt Cuts blogs for Google on how the two factor authentication works with Gmail, and dispels some myths about any perceived difficulties this may add to accessing your email.

Want to learn more about security best practices for your law firm? Sign up for the CBA CLE (1.5 IL PR Credit)  “Lighting the Corners: Security Best Practices”  in person or webcast on November 20 at 12 CT.

Offline Google Docs Tutorial

A fantastic general tech blog, GroovyPost, just posted a nice step-by-step tutorial on “How to Enable and Set Up Google Docs Offline“.  Sometimes you need offline access to files in “the cloud” and it is nice that Google works to make files available  locally.  In fact, you can access most of Google’s services offline, such as Gmail and calendaring. What about other services? Read my recent article on accessing your law office email, files and matters offline in “Fog Bank: When the Cloud is Down“.

Google Places is now Google+ Local

Google has incorporated Google Profiles and Google Places into Google+. In the past lawyers could boost their online presence by filling out a free Google Profile, which created a publicly available profile that included pictures, hobbies, personal and professional interests. You could link to your webpage, blog, LinkedIn profile or anything else you’d like to share.  Profiles are no longer standalone,  but rather serve as the “About” information in your Google+ profile. Since lawyers can now create business pages in Google+, you can choose to create a personal and/or professional profile in Google+ now.

More recently Google+ incorporated Google Places,  which let you add your firm to Google Maps and create a local business listing. Ultimately this means that people will have more ways to discover your Google+ business listing, as the information will appear in general search results, as well as Google+, maps, mobile search, etc. It will also make local search results more social, enticing user comments and “indeed, it gives Google a local vehicle with functionality equivalent to Facebook and Twitter.”  Google reminds you: “It’s a good idea to create a Google Places account using an email address that you don’t mind sharing with others or passing along, in case you wish to transfer ownership of your listings.”

If you already had a Google Places page you will find that it has been moved for you to Google+ Local. Google has a support page for FAQ about Google Places content migration if you have questions, or if you information didn’t completely transfer. If you are interested in doing more with a Google+ business page for your firm, see the CBA LPMT “How to… Create a Google+ Business Page” archived webcast and materials.

Additionally you can take advantage of similar local profile listings from Yahoo! Local Search, Bing Business Portal, and Yelp.

Fog Bank: When the Cloud Is Down

Read my Attorney At Work article on how lawyers who are dependent on the cloud can be productive even when offline:

Sometimes you just don’t have access to the Internet. Whether you’re traveling in a plane, or in a remote (or sometimes not so remote) area that has no WiFi, 3G or 4G coverage, or simply because your cable or T1 line is down due to weather or some other outage, on occasion you will have some forced downtime because you can’t access your cloud-based documents, send emails, or pull up a client’s contact information from a cloud-based provider. In fact, it is likely to happen at the most inopportune moment. Fortunately, there are ways to access online information locally.

60 Sites in 60 Minutes (ABA TECHSHOW 2012)

Did you miss ABA TECHSHOW this year? Come to the LPM Committee meeting next Friday (4/13) from 12:15 PM – 1:30 to hear a few attendees favorite tips picked up at the show. Until then…

ABA TECHSHOW 2012 – 60 Sites in 60 Minutes (The whole list)

Again this year, the always exciting 60 Sites in 60 Minutes plenary session concluded ABA TECHSHOW 2012. Presenters Natalie Kelly, Dan Pinnington, Catherine Sanders Reach and TECHSHOW Chair Reid Trautz shared variety of serious and funs sites with the packed room. For those that couldn’t make it, here is a full list of the sites they presented:

Sites to help you do your job

  • ABA Preview of Supreme Court Cases: Everything you want or need to know about what is happening at the Supreme Court, past, present and future. americanbar.org/publications/preview_home.html
  • Fastcase and Mobile Sync: Legal research on your desktop, iPhone or iPad. Bar Association users can use the Mobile Sync feature to keep one research session going across all platforms. www.fastcase.com
  • CellularAbroad is a helpful site to find the best mobile phone and coverage option specific to your phone and carrier when traveling overseas. www.cellularabroad.com
  • Google Scholar adds treatment to citing cases scholar.google.com/
  • Jureeka: Turn legal citations in web pages into hyperlinks that point to online legal source material in Chrome or Firefox jureeka.blogspot.ca
  • TinyEye: Reverse image search: find out source of an image, other uses of it, higher resolution versions, etc. www.tineye.com
  • Google Images lets you search by dragging and dropping an image www.google.com/imghp
  • Meevsu: Have a live confrontation or debate via webcam, with the audience voting for the winner meevsu.com

Helpful information

  • Law Practice Today e-zine archives is full of terrific articles on all aspects of law practice management www.americanbar.org/publications/law_practice_magazine
  • Room77: See what your hotel view is like, before you book the room www.room77.com
  • Priceblink: Find lower prices while you shop and set notifications for desired price points. www.priceblink.com
  • The Holotypic Occlupanid Research Group exists for one purpose. You’ll have to see for yourself because you won’t believe it until you see it. www.horg.com/horg/intro.html
  • PMA Pipe: Keep up with all the law practice management blogs feeds.feedburner.com/PmaPipe
  • MarineTraffic: Watch the movement of ships around the world, tracked by GPS in real time MarineTraffic.com/ais/
  • AllTop: See the top headlines on the most popular news sites and blogs alltop.com
  • The World at 7 Billion: With seven billion people in the world, where do you fit in? Just enter your birthdate and find out! www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15391515
  • Handsfreeinfo: See what your state’s cell phone and texting laws for drivers prohibit – or are about to prohibit. Handsfreeinfo.com
  • WhoIsTheMostFamous:With just a first name, try to guess the most famous surname. WhoIsTheMostFamous.com
  • Scoopertino is the parody blog of all things Apple (based in Coopertino, CA) that recently claimed Apple would replace the complete iTunes library with songs sung by Siri, starting with Stairway to Heaven! scoopertino.com
  • US Department of State provides important travel information for every country in the world www.state.gov/misc/list/index.htm
  • An American’s Guide to Canada tells you everything you want to know about life in the Great White North, including “Canadianisms” and how to immigrate. AmericansGuide.ca

Technology tools and sites

  • Adobe provides great online tools for collaboration and converting and editing PDF documents acrobat.com
  • Alternativeto: If you’ve decided to replace a software application, this site will recommend alternatives based on user feedback. alternativeto.net
  • FollowUpThen: Schedule followups to emails you don’t need to deal with now, by simply forwarding them to this site. followupthen.com
  • Snipreel: Clip YouTube videos so you can share just the best parts. Snipreel.com
  • GreatApps: Helps you weed through the 1,000s of apps out there by featuring the best 25 at a time. greatapps.com
  • “If This Then That” write “recipes” and tasks to automate actions between “channels” like Facebook, Twitter, Email, Dropbox, Evernote and more ifttt.com
  • Thsrs Find shorter synonyms for longer words ironicsans.com/thsrs/
  • Zamzar is an oldie but a goodie site that coverts computer files you upload into other formats; great for old WordPerfect docs you now need to access via MS Word zamzar.com
  • Down for everyone or just me? Find out if a website is down www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com
  • Ninite: Pick all the popular software you want to install right from one page www.ninite.com
  • FacebookCheating: Read and share stories of cheating that happened via Facebook. Also access spying and therapeutic resources for online activity. facebookcheating.com
  • Factory Reset Wiki: Find factory reset codes and procedures for all kinds of products. Factory-Reset.com
  • Join.me is a free, yet robust screen sharing and conference call system that is extremely easy to set up and/or join. join.me/
  • TextMechanic allows you to manipulate and play with text in all sorts of different ways (for example, pick a random line of text) TextMechanic.com/Random-Line-Picker.html

Social media tools & resources

 

Law practice management

  • HBS Elevator Pitch Builder The good folks at the Harvard Business School have created the on-line pitch builder to help you hone your, well, elevator pitch. Try it! www.alumni.hbs.edu/careers/pitch
  • Thinkstock: A huge supply of the best stock images thinkstock.com
  • 99Designs is a new on-line graphics marketplace to have law firm logos and website graphics designed at extremely low rates, thanks to the winner-take-all nature of the marketplace. 99designs.com

Online privacy and dangers

  • Google Privacy Tools: All the ways Google gives you control over the information you share and store with them: google.com/policies/privacy/tools/
  • ScamTrends: Keep track of all the constant attemps to scam you by email, social media, phone, etc www.scamtrends.com
  • AvoidAClaim This blog about law practice management and claims prevention also features warnings about the latest fraud attempts against lawyers www.avoidaclaim.com
  • FCC Small Biz Cyber Planner: Information on how smaller companies can secure themselves against cyber crime www.fcc.gov/cyberplanner
  • SecretSync is a great way to easily share proprietary, sensitive information using online synchronization utilities getsecretsync.com
  • StartPage: A search engine that doesn’t collect your personal data startpage.com

Non-billable Time

  • MapCrunch lets you randomly teleport anywhere in the world via Google Streetview Mapcrunch.com
  • MyExWife’s Wedding Dress: Family lawyers will especially get a kick out of this site started by a man whose wife purposely left behind her wedding dress when they separated, and what he did with it to get even. myexwifesweddingdress.com
  • VeryFunnyAds: Pretty self explanatory! VeryFunnyAds.com
  • AbsolutelyMadness: collects the funniest pictures on the internet absolutelymadness.tumblr.com/
  • PhotoShop Disasters: A collection of the worst examples of bad Photoshop efforts PSDisasters.com
  • Monk-e-Mail: In just a few minutes you can customize an animated message complete with your own voice to send a birthday greeting or other fun greeting. Hosted by CareerBuilder.com of all things, but why not? www.careerbuilder.com/monk-e-mail/default.aspx
  • PoopSenders For friend or foe, res ipsa loquitor. www.poopsenders.com
  • Craftastrophe:A collection of the tackiest examples of homemade crafts Craftastrophe.net
  • WhySiriWhy? Amusing Siri quotes and awkward voice-text failures whysiriwhy.com
  • AwkwardWorkplacePhotos.com. Go. Laugh. Get back to work! workplacephotos.com
  • Devolve Me: Upload a photo of yourself (or someone else) and devolve it to see what you would look like 1.8 million years ago.www.open.ac.uk/darwin/devolve-me.php
  • MultiPlayerPiano: Play the piano online with whoever else is on the site at the same time multiplayerpiano.com

If you liked these sites, you can see the sites that were featured in previous ABA TECSHOW 60 Sites in 60 Minutes presentations as well as the ABA TECSHOW 60 Sites in 60 Minutes Hall of Fame

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