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The Panama Papers: A Massive Data Leak and a Multitude of Sins

    

Well, it is another day, and another massive leak of sensitive data has occurred. However, we are not learning about others' marital transgressions, private medical information, or credit card numbers this time. No, this leak has taken data leaks to a whole new level. The release of the Panama Papers has revealed some seriously questionable financial dealings on the part of numerous heads of state and their relatives. Government officials in Russia, China, Iceland, and the U.K. have already been implicated, with other names likely to come out as more details emerge. It seems that many of these apparently shady dealings involve a lot of shell companies and offshore accounts. However, it is still unclear just how much money is involved or how deep this scandal reaches.

 

But, it is pretty hard to decide which is worse in this case, the actual information that this data leak has revealed or the fact that this data leak even occurred. The reason for this uncertainty is due to the fact that it was a law firm whose data was leaked, 2.6 terabytes of information to be more precise, which according to the firm was the work of hackers. There are few confidentiality privileges more cherished than the one that supposedly exists between an attorney and his/her client. Thus, this is a catastrophic failure on the part of this law firm. Granted, the firm has been quick to point the blame for this data leak elsewhere, but they certainly bear some of the responsibility, considering it was their system that was breached.

 

In an era when technology reigns supreme, it is still so hard to understand how this keeps happening. After all, if the firm was helping its clients stash billions of dollars, it surely earned enough cash to afford rock solid security. It is simply incomprehensible that any company, and especially law firms, would fail to ensure that they were utilizing the most sophisticated data storage system available, irrespective of price really.

 

Obviously, it is most distressing to learn that corruption is alive and well the world over, but it is almost equally distressing to learn that private information simply is not safe in the hands of others, even confidentiality-bound attorneys. One cannot help but wonder what it is that has to happen for company leaders to recognize that data security has to be a top priority. There has been embarrassment after embarrassment and victim after victim because of what one can only surmise is the result of carelessness and an ill-advised effort to save a buck.

 

For those entrusting any confidential data to any company or firm, it is imperative to inquire as to its data security strategy, and if it is unsatisfactory, or worse, non-existent, by all means take your business elsewhere. For companies, for the sake of both clients and the health of the business, strong security measures must be instituted. As for the unscrupulous folks and their dealings, laws and public opinion will no doubt determine their fate.

SecureDocs Webinar April 2016