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The risks for lawyers of exchanging documents via email or the cloud

By Neil Davison, Head of Information Technology, Farrer & Co

23 August 2013

It has become commonplace to exchange documents with clients via email, but times are changing.

With the size and volume of documents exchanged increasing, it is often the case that email alone cannot manage the magnitude of documents being shared, so clients are increasingly turning to new, free and easy-to-use internet file-sharing tools. Examples include Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, Box.net and Google Docs.

These services use the internet to send and synchronise files and deposit digital copies of documents in 'the cloud' for access by third parties. Although convenient, these services are not without their risks.

So, what are the risks?

  • The UK's Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) requires all personal data to be stored within the EEA. However, most cloud services are based in the US. Putting a potential breach of the DPA to one side, the US Patriot Act allows all documents uploaded on...

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