What ephemeral messaging is good for

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/12/trusted-intentions-not-cap.html


Hi @doctorow, that’s very interesting and all, but this throwaway remark

intrigued me more. Maybe a link?

Or even a separate post?





I see what you did there…


As a lawyer, I love Wickr and its competitors. I was recently at a cannabis conference where a prospective client said, “Having Wickr on your business card is the most weed-lawyer thing I can imagine,” but my reasons are a lot deeper than just keeping communications away from government.

The official guidance on preserving confidentiality and safekeeping data from my state’s practice management entity is a preference for requiring all client communications to go through an https-protected cloud-based portal. Getting clients to actually do that is near-impossible, since they want to communicate with their lawyer the same way they do everyone else, through email, text, and social media. Leaving aside the prospect of creating lasting records of potentially incriminating behavior, the possibility of losing a phone or laptop full of confidential client material is an ethical nightmare.

So now there are these tools that work like text-messaging apps, offer encryption and automatic message deletion which I can address once in my engagement letter as a disclaimer to a records retention clause, and get on with doing my work. I still use portals to share completed documents, invoices, and an e-signing platform, and email in accordance with usual industry practices, but now lots more communication can be had through a mechanism that works like a text message, protects all relevant interests and is still less ephemeral than a phone call.

I hope that someday bar associations will endorse and facilitate the development of an open platform to accomplish the same thing, and would love to see the day when MMS protocols implemented encryption and optional message expiration, but for now, at least I don’t have to worry that someone forgetting a phone somewhere is going to ruin anyone’s life.

It doesn’t mean that I won’t make a record of the communication for my notes, or that the client won’t do something else to jeopardize their position, but it automates certain best practices that should be standard for anyone with confidentiality concerns.


Yep. Lawyers also love phone calls. As an academic and an introvert, pretty much the OPPOSITE pressure is in place. It’s kind of interesting to see the dynamics there.


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