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    June 8th, 2008

    ♫ Oh you’re lost baby, and I ain’t funnin.
    But oh, when you call to me, well, I’ll come runnin’
    Safe to your side…♫

    Words and music by Gregg Allman, recorded by the Allman Brothers Band.

    Imagine finding your laptop, Blackberry or digital camera stolen.  A sickening feeling of loss and invasion of privacy overtakes you..along with the realization that confidential information – personal or professional – may be possibly accessed by the thief.  Until recently there was little that one could do other than pick up the pieces, inform the clients whose personal information may have been compromised and try to replace the stolen items.  And try to rebuild your faith in humanity.

    However, an online article appearing on Reuters on June 6, 2008 entitled: Lost Cameras “phone home” to catch thieves by Franklin Paul, showed a new – and gratifying – aspect of technology.  It seems that when Alison DeLauzon’s camera was stolen, the memory card in her camera – that was equipped with Wi-Fi technology – called home.  Specifically, it emailed to Alison the pictures on her camera – including the ones that the thieves had taken of themselves.  The reason being is the the Wi-Fi card was configured to email the pictures automatically to her home computer using an unsecured Wi-Fi network. Needless to say, this resulted in not only recovering the pictures that she thought were gone forever, but also in capturing the thieves and in having the camera restored to her.

    Franklin Paul in his article mentions that GadgetTrak of Beaverton, Oregon sells software that can be loaded onto PC’s, Mac’s, mobile phones, iPods, flash drives, external hard drives, digital cameras, GPS devices and others that helps provide information on its location and aids in its recovery.  Technology strikes back against thieves!  There are other competiting products as well – but the point is that *finally* smart technology can help not only recover stolen items, but it can help convict those who engage in unlawful activities.

    All we have to do is install the software and – hope against hope – that we never need to rely on it.  But if the occasion does arise, we can patiently wait for the device to call to us…and we – along with law enforcement – will come running to its side.

    This entry was posted on Sunday, June 8th, 2008 at 11:37 pm and is filed under Fraud and theft, Issues facing Law Firms, Technology, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

    3 Responses to “ET, I mean, Laptop – Call Home..”
    1. Murray Says:

      The blog entry describes an interesting concept of enabling an electronic device to “call home” when it is lost or stolen. Unfortunately, data on laptop hard drives, memory cards and external hards drives is in the clear and can be copied to another medium before the device is returned to the owner. Consequently the owner is left vulnerable to identity theft issues and private data stored on the drives is available for all to see.

      I suggest that you augment the “call home” software by encrypting the data on laptop and eternal hard drives. Although Microsoft Windows XP Professional can encrypt data there are other tools that are much more effective.

      One tool is TrueCyrpt (www.truecrypt.org) which is an open source tool that does on the fly encryption, is very fast and supports many strong encryption techniques. It is open source, which is a good thing, and is available free of charge.

    2. Murray Says:

      Not sure it’s possible to encrypt data on eternal hard drives. I meant to say external hard drives.

    3. admin Says:

      Murray:

      I couldn’t agree with you more! In fact, Jim Calloway (a fellow legal technology blogger and friend) and I have been carrying out a dialogue on encryption of hard drives (http://jimcalloway.typepad.com/lawpracticetips/2008/04/security-issues.html) and (http://thoughtfullaw.com/2008/04/11/an-idea-whose-time-has-come/).

      I agree with you that the data on data devices that are mobile (and perhaps even the hard drives in a secure office) should be fully encrypted (*not just certain files*) to ensure client confidentiality. And yes, certain encryption algorithms will apply to USB flash drives, external hard drives and the like.

      Thanks for the post!

      Cheers,

      Dave

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