ATLANTA (Feb. 25, 2019) – The legal community is abuzz after news broke of a recording device found in a law firm in West Palm Beach. The story has brought up privacy concerns and questions throughout the legal community and into the business world.
This event happened in Florida which is a two-party consent state meaning that it is illegal to record a conversation unless all parties present are notified and consent. Georgia on the other hand, is a one-party consent state (O.C.G.A. § 16-11-62) making recording legal with the permission from one-party involved.
In addition to the legal ramifications, these types of breaches can have long-lasting effects to the reputation and bottom line of law firms and businesses alike. Once information is exposed, the entire focus shifts to damage control. “A reactive response requires a swift and detailed approach – determining where and how the breach happened and if it is still active, the extent of the breach, evidence collection as well as dealing with repercussions of the information that is now in the hands of an adversary or available for public consumption,” said Tim Keener, a former U.S. Secret Service assigned to the Technical Security Division. “A stronger strategy is a proactive approach.”
Commonly known as “bug sweeps”, Technical Surveillance Counter Measures (TSCM) employs a methodical approach to securing information through physical and technical means. “Creating a secure environment requires a review of the physical space, controlling any access points and monitoring the people and devices that cross into the secure space,” Keener, Director of TSCM and Physical Security for Hawk Professional Investigations, advises. “With today’s technology, it is best to be assured that you are not compromised.”
A person is surrounded by an abundance of potential recording devices constantly. Even if the intent of the device is not nefarious, the reality is that it still could be used that way. “Vulnerabilities exist,” Keener said. “And it is better to be safe than sorry.”