NI: Barristers warned about US access to privileged information

Barristers have been warned that US authorities could access legally privileged information hosted on cloud storage services like Dropbox.

Jacqueline Reid, chair of the IT panel of the Bar Council of England and Wales, has previously warned barristers to “be aware that these surveillance powers can place the confidentiality and security of this highly confidential information at risk”.

The Bar of Northern Ireland tweeted a link this week to the warning from its English partners.

Many in the profession have been advised to check where legally privileged and confidential information is stored.

They have also been told to consider encryption, which can also protect privileged information from the threat of private hackers.

Ulster University law lecturer Rosemary Craig told The Irish News: “Anyone can hack and you need to be very, very careful.

“At a certain point everything needs to be disclosed to the trial, to both sides, but you could have a case where it is accessed earlier.

“However, also concerning, there is information that is not `discoverable’. Court orders are needed to access such information and you are talking about a situation where information could be accessed without a court order, circumventing due process of law.

“This will especially be of concern in commercial matters, but also with prisoners who wouldn’t want the authorities to be able to hack in and get information on them that in this jurisdiction is not open to them.”

Share icon
Share this article: