Sharon Nelson and John Simek’s article, “Can You Trust Your Expert Witness With Confidential Data?” was featured recently in Slaw Magazine. Slaw is a Canadian online legal magazine.
Excerpt: Not always. There was a recent case in which confidential data was not, to put it mildly, well handled. The corporate defendant, a mortgage servicer, was accused of violating a consumer’s privacy rights based on the manner in which it handled collection calls. The defendant protected its customer data with layers of network security consistent with best practices and ISO guidelines. During discovery, the plaintiff’s experts received the calling data and copies of the customer service call recordings.
Both experts had unrelated full-time day jobs. Their expert witness work was a side business run out of their homes. Neither expert had a technical degree, and neither had taken a course in data security for over a decade. Both experts stored the sensitive case data in their homes. There were no locks on the doors to their home offices, so anyone in the houses had access to the drives. Neither expert was familiar with the basic ISO standards relating to data security. Neither had a written data security plan for their home network, and no outside company had ever performed vulnerability or penetration testing on their networks. One expert had no automatic intrusion detection software on his network. Both routinely produced data with sensitive PII (personally identifiable information) in unencrypted form.