What has changed for lawyers in this “post-Snowden” world? Although this topic could be discussed for days, we lightly touch on the main themes in this Special Report with David Lat, Ben Wizner, and host Sharon Nelson. Lat and Wizner summarize their ABA TECHSHOW 2016 presentation titled “Can They Hear Me Now? Practicing Law in an Age of Mass Surveillance.” Ben opens the conversation with a comparison of old methods lawyers once used to secure their files, such as locking files in cabinets, and how the new digital communication landscape poses unforeseen data security challenges for law firms. David then expounds upon this point by expressing how many lawyers aren’t thinking about securing their data and could be facing huge ethical problems. The conversation then focuses on an analysis of whether lawyers should use the cloud and how, in certain instances, it could be more secure for law firms to do so.
Ben Wizner is the director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. For nearly 15 years, he has worked at the intersection of civil liberties and national security, litigating numerous cases involving airport security policies, government watch lists, surveillance practices, targeted killing, and torture. He appears regularly in the global media, has testified before Congress, and is an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. Since July of 2013, he has been the principal legal advisor to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Ben is a graduate of Harvard College and New York University School of Law and was a law clerk to the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
David Lat is the founder and managing editor of Above the Law, an online publication that critically analyzes and reports on legal news. Lat graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School and spent the first part of his career as a federal prosecutor in Newark, New York.