By Jason Wilson
I’ve been off the blogging circuit for a while, but I simply couldn’t resist posting about Carrier IQ. Only one link will do, and it’s to Wired’s Threat Level article on the subject. The long and the short of it is this: if you are a lawyer using a “smart phone” you probably don’t know what kinds of contractual concessions you’ve made. In short, you’re an idiot. And thus the title of this post, which is you’re fucked.
Deride the luddites all you want, but they won’t be crying when you’re the first lawyer to find him or herself on the wrong side of a third-party subpoena because you were too lazy to read a 100-page EULA. The shit this kid Eckhart says (and shows) he found scares the crap out of me, particularly when I think about some software program tracking my login/passwords for secured accounts. If you, as a lawyer, don’t see this as a problem for both yourself and your clients, then you’re a fucking idiot.
Now, I’m not talking about spoliation violations here, like telling your client to clean up his Facebook page, but rather simple preventative measures, like not using a smart phone at all. Honestly, for lawyers I think there is more potential downside to smartphones than there is upside. I’m reminded of some well-known criminal cases here in Harris County, Texas where the clients phone call, if made by smart phone (read: time + location), would have been somewhat dispositive of the matter. The Carrier IQ business takes it to a whole other level as it relates to disclosure to third parties, and something I think lawyers should be concerned about.
But let’s face it. Lawyers are stupid. Not in the sense that they can’t research the law or try cases, but simply that they are like most consumers: they don’t understand or care to investigate the implications of useful technology. After all, if it’s good enough for consumers, it’s good enough for me (them). Besides, I get to play Angry Birds while waiting for my case to be called!
Many lawyers and C-Levels are rushing to adopt mobile technology as some type of competitive advantage, and yet most don’t even understand what it means to root a mobile OS and discover what hidden flaws are intentionally embedded in the systems. If this doesn’t concern you, as a practitioner, then it should. The existence of Carrier IQ should bother you on both a moral and an ethical level, not just for your own security, but your client’s as well. If you ignore it’s existence, then you do so at your own risk.
You’ve been warned.
[Image CC by AS220]