A few weeks back, I did a post about having our personal data hacked.
What if the hacker was you?
Yes you — the attorney, the employer, or someone else who has confidential information.
I was recently reviewing the online court file of an employment case in federal court for a recent blog post. It’s available for anyone to see.
(You might be asking, Why? Because it’s always interesting to see other filings and the way cases turn out. Ok, it’s always interesting TO ME at least….).
In looking over some of the court-filed documents, I came across the college transcript of the employee/plaintiff. It was filed by the attorney as evidence in the case.
And just like that, the attorney has opened up the employee to hacking.
In case you are wondering, yes, there are rules in federal court about this. For example, Local Rule 5(e)8 requires that a party filing a document that will become publicly available shall redact Social Security numbers, financial account numbers, dates of birth and names of minor children.
Attorneys who represent employers should beware that the same rule applies to filings you submit as well.
Beyond court rules, employers have an independent legal obligations to protect Social Security numbers of its employees as well.
And so, in this age of data, it’s up to us all — attorneys and employers — to take the responsibility of protecting data seriously.
You don’t want to hack your own client or employee.