RE: transferring legal and confidential files

Subject: RE: transferring legal and confidential files
From: "Andrew Warren" <awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com>
To: "James Jones" <doc-x -at- earthlink -dot- net>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2006 18:52:48 -0700

James Jones wrote:

> I do technical communication and translation things for clients from
> my home office. Sometimes a client will be an attorney who needs
> translations of stuff, and sometimes that stuff will be of a
> confidential nature, What say you with regard to keeping confidential
> stuff confidential on the Internet? I am aware that most kinds of
> telecommuting arrangements do not pass muster. However, what if it
> must be done?


I think this is more your client's problem than yours, although you may
want to have an agreement that defines your responsibility to keep the
information secure.

Hmm... Actually, maybe you don't want that. I don't know what standard
of care the law would normally expect you to exercise; perhaps your
responsibility would be less without an agreement. Maybe you can barter
with one of your clients for legal advice on the subject.

Anyway, it's mostly your client's problem, so he or she should decide
what's appropriate. Geoff's comments on encryption (and on the human
weak links in encryption protocols) are accurate, but attorneys already
entrust confidential documents to Fedex and to any kid with a bicycle
helmet and a clipboard, so it seems unlikely that your clients would
require any sort of serious encryption.

You may want to transfer all documents as ZIP files, if only for the
packaging advantages, and you may want to (weakly) encrypt those files
to prevent casual eavesdropping and to show that you intend for them to
be confidential -- the law provides stiffer penalties for stealing
information if you can show that the thief had to crack a password to
get it -- but I wouldn't expect you to have to do more than that.

If you actually care for ethical reasons -- as opposed to
legal-liability reasons -- about keeping the information secure, there
are a number of things you can do... But most have the potential to deny
you access to your own data, so you really have to balance your need for
security against your need for reliability. A Google search for
something like "information security laptop telecommute" might turn up
some useful ideas.


=== Andrew Warren - awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com
=== Synaptics, Inc - Santa Clara, CA

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