Privacy Matters – Do you know where your lawyers store YOUR data?

We all know about the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Privacy Act, and the importance and maintaining an individual’s privacy.  But do you know the lengths that law firms in Ontario take to ensure we keep your information private?

When a client retains a lawyer, that lawyer is required to obtain a range of information from that individual and to keep photocopies of identification of that client.  This is part of verifying identity.  How as a law firm are we expected to ensure the information is stored in a safe and confidential manner?  I can tell you how – organization.

A law firm must be organized in order to run efficiently, so it was not a hard task to ensure the information collected was being stored safely and efficiently.  An organized file room and filing system makes life easy for us in the firm. 

With technology progressing, more things are being done on-line and through emails.  Thanks to being able to send encrypted files and using “new tech videoconferencing” such as Skype or Facetime,  firms are now able to verify identifies with ease making it more convenient for the client. 

How do you store your files on servers safely and effectively? 

Everyone has heard of the “cloud”, but the cloud that is over our office right now threatening rain does not actually have our information stored it in.   Our files are stored in a manner that we can access securely, even if we are not in the office on our desk computers.  These are drives that are heavily loaded with firewalls that will prevents someone who shouldn’t be there from getting access to your files.  Everyone may not be aware of the fact that law firms in Canada must store their files and information in Canada only.  This is very important. 

Like many professions, law firms do get audited from time to time, and guaranteed they want to see the firms’ privacy policy and how they keep everything confidential and secure.  It’s no longer employees signing a document agreeing to maintain confidentiality, it now goes further. 

So don’t lose any sleep tonight, your information in our firm is kept under lock and key.

Christine Allan, Law Clerk

callan@andriessen.ca