Article Title

Consumer Privacy


Pretty scary. This whole business of technology and privacy. I don't know about you but it makes me think about that John Grimes song where he wanted to blow up the TV, throw away the paper, and move to the country. I think that there are probably some things that we can do and that we cannot do. One of the things that comes to mind in listening to my colleagues talk about the shutdown of the dotcoms, last year Congress overhauled the 65 year prohibition against insurance companies not being permitted to get involved in financial services and banking. So now insurance companies are presumably going to be merging with stock brokerage firms and banks. And we're seeing all these databases becoming consolidated so that your stockbroker will know about your bank loans and your financial transactions, and insurance companies will know about your assets and so forth. All these things are going to be sold off to the highest bidder as one big firm gobbles up another big firm; as one failed dotcom is bought up by a more successful dotcom that has a business model that makes a profit. The thing is, at least as a lawyer, there was a time when lawyers could not sell a law practice - those of you who practice law know that there was a prohibition against selling your law practice to another lawyer, if for no other reason than the fact that the information in your files is confidential and could not be disclosed to a third party without the client's consent. So, in order to have a successful sale of law practice you'd have to get the client's consent to transfer their pending matters or their files to the purchasing attorney. Now under the new rules of professional conduct you're allowed to do that.