Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Federal Information Security Law -- Will It Affect Law Firms?

The recently-introduced Cybersecurity Act of 2012 calls for the federal government to identify key systems that if attacked would result in severe economic or physical damage. Stated targets include utilities, banks and other critical service providers.

As Law Technology News reports: "Experts say it's possible that large law firms and corporate legal departments could be impacted and find themselves reporting security procedures to the federal government, or face fines and public scrutiny."
  • Steptoe & Johnson partner Stewart Baker outlines how the rules could affect law firms: "That is to say, there might be 100 or 200 law firms in America whose secrets, if compromised, would in aggregation result in really significant economic harm. At the end of the day, it's not the law firm's secrets that are important, it's their clients."
  • But he and others, like one security consultant, suggest that law firms are not the intended targets of the measure: "You can imagine hypotheticals, but I think in fairness, law firms are probably outside the zone of what the bill makers are actually contemplating. Probably lawyers are not life-sustaining, notwithstanding how important we think we are."

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