Why do people think that technology makes everything better? A prison video visitation service exposed private calls between inmates and their attorneys
Fearing the spread of coronavirus, jails and prisons remain on lockdown. Visitors are unable to see their loved ones serving time, forcing friends and families to use prohibitively expensive video visitation services that often don’t work.
But now the security and privacy of these systems are under scrutiny after one St Louis-based prison video visitation provider had a security lapse that exposed thousands of phone calls between inmates and their families, but also calls with their attorneys that were supposed to be protected by attorney-client privilege.
So. Any bets on how long it takes for attorneys to start calling for mistrials, based on violation of their clients’ rights? I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not sure if that is even a thing, but I wouldn’t bet against it.
There are known cases of U.S. prosecutors using recorded calls between an attorney and their incarcerated clients. Last year, prosecutors in Louisville, Ky., allegedly listened to dozens of calls between a murder suspect and his attorneys. And, earlier this year defense attorneys in Maine said they were routinely recorded by several county jails, and their calls protected under attorney-client privilege were turned over to prosecutors in at least four cases.
Because it is not about Justice. It is about winning. And if you have to break the rules, and the law, and in general be a complete asshole to win, well, how do you think the attorneys that work for the prosecution feel about that? You don’t get a raise if you lose.
But it is all OK, you see, it is (mostly) because of the pandemic. Though some jurisdictions were only using video conferencing even before the pandemic.
So how did this happen?
In an email, HomeWAV chief executive John Best confirmed the security lapse.
“One of our third-party vendors has confirmed that they accidentally took down the password, which allowed access to the server,”
Sounds like systems design took a back seat to just about everything. Oh, hey let’s “accidentally” remove password security on everything we do. Security is SO expensive, and SO annoying.
Some day, companies and people will take security seriously. But today is not that day.