Risk Update

Technology Risk News — Court Moves Proceedings to Zoom + More on Smart Device Security

We’ve covered the security fallout and move away from Zoom by some corporations and law firms, so it caught my interest to see: “Northern District of Georgia Turns to Zoom as Proceedings Go Remote” —

  • “Long-established policies created by the Judicial Conference of the United States and adopted by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia barred visual or audio recording devices and live broadcasts from the downtown Atlanta courthouse without a court order. Those have now been loosened due to the pandemic.”
  • “Federal judges in Atlanta, Rome, Gainesville and Newnan may now use Zoom and other technology to conduct public hearings in real time without bringing everyone into the courtroom.”
  • “Any recording—including audio, video, or still screen shots—of Zoom proceedings is prohibited, and anyone doing so is subject to sanctions, said Chief Judge Thomas Thrash. ‘There is to be only one record of a proceedings in federal court,’ he said. ‘If you start letting people record and re-transmit bits and pieces of court proceedings, that will be a disaster.'”
  • “The Northern District isn’t alone in adapting to the pandemic by turning to technology like Zoom. Last month, the Supreme Court of Georgia instituted oral arguments via Zoom. The Georgia Court of Appeals followed suit on Wednesday with Chief Judge Stephen Dillard presiding in the courtroom at the downtown Judicial Center while Judges Brian Rickman and Trent Brown and counsel joined in remotely.”
  • “Cohen also said that Zoom has a function that allows lawyers and their clients to conference privately during a Zoom session.”

Next, thanks to Simon Chester at Gowling WLG for sending in this excellent overview of likely prudent practices: “How To Make Your Amazon Echo and Google Home as Private as Possible” —

  • “With news that Amazon lets human employees listen to Alexa recordings, you might want to tighten up your smart assistant ship.”
  • “And Amazon had not been forthcoming about its Alexa auditors. Apple and Google, who make popular smart speakers as well, aren’t shouting it from the rooftops either, but both companies had mentioned previously that they use human reviewers as well.”
  • “When WIRED asked Amazon if there is an opt-out for sharing recordings to improve the Alexa service, Amazon declined to comment.”
  • “The easiest way to ensure that no one is listening through your smart assistant’s microphone is to mute the device.”

(Relating to these themes on a personal level, last week I discovered my child’s school-managed meeting room, class long since over, had been quietly recording hours of audio activity in the living room, uploading it to an inaccessible cloud repository. Thankfully, those were just between me and her. There might have been a book or two read. If you care to know, yes, I do voices. Embarrassing potentially, but not a breach of duty…)