Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Alabama Lawyers May Not Mine Metadata

The Alabama State Bar's ethics panel advised in a recent opinion (Alabama State Bar Office of Gen. Counsel, Op. RO-2007-02, 3/14/07) that the unauthorized mining of metadata to uncover confidential information in electronic documents constitutes a professional misconduct.

The panel relied primarily on the New York State ethics opinion, of which I discussed earlier, that disapproved the idea of mining for metadata. Unfortunately, it did not refer to ABA Formal Op. 06-442 (2006), which advised that lawyers have no ethical duty to refrain from reviewing and using metadata embedded in electronic documents received from the opposing counsel or party...

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