Keeping It Secure – Internet in a Bubble

By Joseph Raczynski

Absolutely! Feel free to use YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Gmail for business purposes at Kelley Drye.  As many firms struggle with internal access to these services for their employees, Kelley Drye has figured out how to satisfy employees and firm management by establishing a secure secondary path to the Internet in a bubble which they call Wild West Internet.

This inventive access was discussed at the “Keeping It Secure – Internet in a Bubble” session at the ILTA LegalSEC Summit 2015.  Judi Flournoy, CIO at Kelley Drye described the evolution of how they reached the Wild West Internet.   In part, the genesis was an outgrowth of a 300 part questionnaire request from a financial institution client.  With the significant restrictions the financial institutions placed on access they were forced to change their Web access policy.  The first iterations proved extremely draconian.  No access to personal email or social media was permitted. This met with incredible backlash from the staff.  In fact, there were attorneys in tears of frustration and anger, expressing feelings of disconnect from the outside world.  Peeling back the policy, the revised policy instituted individual access to those cleared by Human Resources on a one off approval basis.  Soon thereafter, throngs were making this request which became problematic.

Ultimately the solution and final policy decision involved creating a separate browser experience for users when they accessed YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Gmail for business purposes.  With the assistance of Lisa Stone and Thomas Moreo from Cornerstone Information Technologies, they built a perimeter network which sat within their larger network but behind an additional firewall.  Thus they were able to safeguard all of their primary systems and establish a walled garden where people could access those services.  There were multiple safeguards put into place including that fact users could not print, download or cut and paste back into the primary network.  Users agree to these in principle and understand the limitations, but both those users and the firm found this to be a perfect halfway point.

For more granularity on instituting this please see the following:

  • They used an ASA Next Gen internal firewall creating an outer perimeter – DMZ
  • Citrix ZenApp
  • Read only domain controller with shares for profiles
  • MacAfee with all of the blocks associated for pornography and gaming sites
  • Blocked: printing, downloads and the ability to cut and paste back to the firm environment
  • Loaded MS Office in the environment so people could still read Word/Excel

Social Media & eDiscovery: The Water Is Rising 

Lawyers are mired the immensity of eDiscovery materials.  Enter into the quagmire social media, which in part encompasses Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn creating a massive flood of discoverable data.  At LegalTech Michael E. Lackey, Jr., Partner at Mayer Brown, Jack Halprin VP of eDiscovery and Compliance at Autonomy, and Honorable David J. Waxse of the US District Court District of Kansas dive into various topics surrounding social media and eDiscovery.  Some of the issues they explored included; if social media is discoverable, how to handle it, and the challenges of social media.

Social media can be discoverable.  According to Michael Lackey, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) defines a document as “any designated documents or electronically stored information…”.  Therefore Social Media Sites (SMS) can be considered discoverable if relevant and within that definition.  One important point that the Judge mentioned was that “lawyers are treating social media differently than normal discovery, which is wrong.”

Since 75% of the Fortune 100 companies are using social media and the Library of Congress is recording every tweet, the panel examined how to handle the data.  Firms are taking one of three tactics: Block, Punt or Tackle.

Block: The firm prevents all access for employees; however, typically employees find work-arounds.  In addition, most firms are actually using social media so that makes the policy cumbersome.

Punt: Other firms are actually doing little to nothing to regulate.  This will leave the organization open to risk.

Tackle: Increasingly firms recognize a need to add social media to corporate information and governance. These groups realize social media is here to stay, that data is discoverable, and see the negative effects of not having a policy.

Technologists and attorneys must deal with the challenges of social media itself.  They have to consider the complexity, massive volume, informality of the conversation, anonymity of users, and lastly the transient and dynamic nature of the medium.  With respect to the informal and dynamic nature mentioned, the panel pointed out that words can be interpreted in multiple ways given variances in culture, language and age.  They gave an example that the word “dog” could be interpreted: as an animal, a negative connotation, e.g. that stock is a dog, or vernacular, “He’s my dawg”.  Multiple meanings complicated this process.

Technology is the solution in dealing with the challenges of properly understanding and organizing this discovery.  Judge Waxse stated, “Lawyers need to be convinced that technology has to be used now.”  The sheer challenge of volume, web content, conversational text, and slang necessitates highly scalable algorithmic technologies.

These technology tools should be:

  • Language independent
  • Have the ability to dynamically understand slang and abbreviations
  • Scale to manage ever growing volumes of data
  • Able to cull through all media including audio and video

Ultimately social media can be discoverable.  Law firms must take an active role in creating an information governance plan thus becoming proactive in addressing any possible issues that could arise.  Lastly, technology should be utilized to help unearth and understand the volumes of information that are now within the realm of discoverable.

 

Social Media and Privacy

By Joseph Raczynski

Editor’s note: Guest blogger Joseph Raczynski, an Applications Integrator for Thomson Reuters, Legal , is also a technology evangelist who specializes in social media and portal technology.  He also has been a consultant in web and wireless development.

Legal Tech May 20, 2010

Legal Tech: Social Media & Privacy

I attended the “Social Media & Privacy” seminar of Virtual Legal Tech.  Jason Romrell General Counsel at InsuranceLeads.com spoke about “How Much Exposure is Too Much?”  In this discussion he offers two examples, and then provides specific awareness consulting about privacy surrounding social media.

First he discussed acts of, in his words, “privacy stupidity”.  In one example an employee of a large firm claimed workmen’s compensation and thus received medical benefits for the inability to walk.  When pictures of her surfing in South Beach appear on Facebook, her benefits were terminated immediately.  In the second example, Microsoft “fired” an employee for publicly posting a picture of the delivery of Apple’s Macbooks to Bill Gates building with Microsoft’s signage clearly in the background.

In both of these cases, Romrell points out that “off the clock” activities posted publically can be used against the individual.  Most companies operate using “at-will” employment, thus any action they do not approve of is grounds for dismissal.

In one very curious aspect he mentioned that the IRS and DOJ are also using social media, e.g. Twitter and Facebook, to investigate individuals with cause.

As Romrell underscores, it is crucial to recognize that any and all information posted online via social media has the potential to be viewed by anyone.  However, read what you see with a skeptical eye.  Be aware users who post as “Angie Smith” may actually be someone attempting to pass themselves off as Angie.

Twitter: Mind the Gap

By Joseph Raczynski

Editor’s note: Guest blogger Joseph Raczynski, an Applications Integrator for Thomson Reuters, Legal , is also a technology evangelist who specializes in social media and portal technology.  He also has been a consultant in web and wireless development.

Twitter: Mind the Gap

In the social media sphere within the legal industry there are several gaps which need attention.  One chief oversight is the under utilization of the broadcasting ability of Twitter.  In its most simplistic nascent form, Twitter is a megaphone.   “Payne & Suffrin, LLP wins medical case!”  “Partner Tom Thompson lands Megasaurus, LLC.”  As is outlined below, some firms are using Twitter in this capacity; however others remain silently “tweetless”.

The second more dynamic and critically important aspect of Twitter is the dialogue opened.  That is, when people are frustrated or elated typically they tweet about it.  Companies and firms alike who have products or clients should be fully cognizant of these musings.  The gesture by a firm in the form of a rapid reply satiates most because their tweet does not fall into the abyss.  The tweet becomes an actual conversation.  It is a perfect opportunity to engage and evolve the conversation into positivity, and in turn profit.  This is easily accomplished via Twitter Search and the myriad of applications that allow access to aggregated tweets about your company or firm.

Who is doing what with Twitter:

  • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is using Twitter to broadcast such announcements as wins, partner opinion on the international climate in the Middle East, and recaps of events on the Hill
  • Howrey LLP transmits alerts regarding symposiums it hosts, awards won, and tasks forces created
  • King & Spalding announces new clients, partner discussions, and blogs

While those firms are tapping into the potential, others seem to be on hold.  Firms such as Hogan Lovells, Holland & Knight, and Proskauer Rose have apparently parked their names and locked down their pages, protecting tweets.

Final thoughts to consider:

  • Are you seeing twitter as an open dialogue?
  • Do you search tweets to see what people are saying so you can respond?
  • What resources do you dedicate to answering tweets?

Twitter the Next Biggest Connective Development for Humans

By Joseph Raczynski

“Twitter could be the next biggest connective development for humans, bigger than TV.”

That is what someone who has been working with the development of Twitter told the audience at a legal technology conference I was at in NYC a few months ago.

Here is the rationale.  Think of Twitter as an army of millions of mobile reporters.  People tweet all over the world.  People tweet in war zones, at major events, but more importantly they tweet where an event happens and there are no news reporters available, yet.  They are the first person on the scene accounts.

The key to this whole development is the open API which allows for applications to be created by anyone so that Tweets can be gathered, processed and understood in mass.

News companies are major adopters of reading Tweets.  In fact, there is an application that categories Tweets coming from different parts of the world, or state, or topic area.  They search on key words like “Middle East” or “Bomb” or “Providence”… whatever you can imagine.  They have huge digital boards, and people can monitor all the activity of the tweets that come in, and see what those army of millions of mobile reporters are saying.  To make this all better… People can also send pictures, and I see video is not too far behind.  So think about a breakout of a mob in Southie… people would Tweet on that and send pictures far before some news crew could get there.  It is like news immediately, even more immediate that what we have traditionally thought of as immediate.

The big part that people miss is the search function.  Go to http://search.twitter.com from that site you can search on anything you like.  Look for a restaurant in your area that you wonder if is any good.  People probably have tweeted about it.  Marketing companies are finally seeing this as a way to find out what people think about good or services in real time.

When you tweet, you are actually tweeting to the whole world, so ask a question, and you are likely to get an answer.  The bigger following you have the better the response.  When I was in NYC I asked about a restaurant… I said, “What do people think of 5 Napkin Burger”?  And via my immediate responses, I got a good sense that the place is damn solid.

So from my vantage point, it is a cool app, in its infancy.  There is way more to it that some guy saying, “I just ate a whole cherry pie.”  Seriously, it will make waves for a reason, and will continue to do so.