Litigation, Privacy and other Legal Issues in Cloud Computing

by Fred Abramson on October 21, 2009 · 4 comments

There is a growing trend for companies to store information at a remote location, or a “cloud.” Whether you are using Google Docs or have remote servers physically located elsewhere, if you are collaborating with other people and information is not stored on your hard drive, you are probably “cloud computing.”

So who is effected by the move to Cloud Computing?  The move could impact companies such as software companies, internet service providers and hardware manufacturers. Companies in each of these industries will face a big change if more people turn to cloud computing to store their data.

Cloud computing is a terrific alternative for companies who have people working together on a project at different locations.  Because the costs are relatively low, cloud computing makes it easier to conduct business.  However if your business is engaged in posting user information online, you should be mindful of privacy and litigation issues.

Be aware of the types of documents that you post in the cloud and how it can be used by others. Businesses should be especially concerned about posting:

  • Business presentations
  • Employee work and health information
  • Tax and accounting records
  • Schedules and Calendars
  • Contracts
  • Trade Secrets
  • Confidential Consumer Information

If your company becomes involved in a litigation, your opposing counsel may ask your cloud hosting provider for access to company records. A business engaged in cloud computing must know that privacy laws vary depending on the physical location of your provider.

The liability and responsibility for any breach of privacy claims is something that a business needs to protect itself against. Companies can limit liability by having a properly drafted document retention policy.

For more reading about legal issues in cloud computing for lawyers, read Niki Black’s article in the Lawyerist.

If you have any questions regarding cloud computing, litigation and privacy law, contact me at the Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson at 212-233-0666.

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  • Come to Cyberspace Law Committee’s Public Forum: Head in the Clouds? Implications of Cloud Computing
    Thursday, March 4 – 6:00 PM
    Place: NYCLA Home of Law – 14 Vesey Street
    http://www.nycla.org

    FREE

    Cloud computing, an Internet-based development and use of computer technology typically involving the provision of dynamically scalable resources, is fast becoming a part of our daily lives. Whether one is checking webmail, backing up data online or collaborating on documents, it is hard to avoid putting information in the cloud. It is a cost-effective tool that many businesses are turning to. As counsel and consumers, we need to understand how to navigate safely and legally. Panelists will explore: the dangers of the cloud, legal issues involved, data protection, maintaining privilege and generally navigating the cloud safely and legally.
    Panelists: Joseph Bambara, in house counsel and a VP of technology architecture at UCNY, Inc.; Raj Goel, CISSP, IT and information security expert; and Anthony L. Soudatt, Law Office of Anthony L. Soudatt, Esq. and technology consultant

    RSVP: dlamb@nycla.org

  • Come to Cyberspace Law Committee’s Public Forum: Head in the Clouds? Implications of Cloud Computing
    Thursday, March 4 – 6:00 PM
    Place: NYCLA Home of Law – 14 Vesey Street
    http://www.nycla.org

    FREE

    Cloud computing, an Internet-based development and use of computer technology typically involving the provision of dynamically scalable resources, is fast becoming a part of our daily lives. Whether one is checking webmail, backing up data online or collaborating on documents, it is hard to avoid putting information in the cloud. It is a cost-effective tool that many businesses are turning to. As counsel and consumers, we need to understand how to navigate safely and legally. Panelists will explore: the dangers of the cloud, legal issues involved, data protection, maintaining privilege and generally navigating the cloud safely and legally.
    Panelists: Joseph Bambara, in house counsel and a VP of technology architecture at UCNY, Inc.; Raj Goel, CISSP, IT and information security expert; and Anthony L. Soudatt, Law Office of Anthony L. Soudatt, Esq. and technology consultant

    RSVP: dlamb@nycla.org

  • Darren Chaker

    ‘Cloud’ storeage like Carbonite is great, however keep in mind the content of your information and where the servers are located vs. the chance for a subpoena for your files. Simply put, I’ve always suggested to people with privacy concerns to retain remote storage off shore since it is so easy to get a civil subpoena—I would rather have material stored where a U.S. subpoena is invalid. Darren Chaker

  • Suvarnabhagwat Suni

    fast becoming a part of our daily lives. Whether one is checking webmail, backing up data online or collaborating on documents, it is hard to avoid putting information in the cloud.

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