Back in January, ACLU Principal Technologist Christopher Soghoian—a privacy researcher and activist who worked at the FTC between 2009 and 2010—noticed a line in one of the attorney bios on the website of the law firm Perkins Coie.
“Represented cloud computing provider in Federal Trade Commission investigation under Section 5 of the FTC Act regarding security practices for mobile access to cloud computing service,” the bio said. “Investigation closed.”
Seems innocuous enough, right? But Soghoian knew Perkins Coie represented Dropbox and did the math.
Tech reporters might want to call Dropbox and ask them if they've been investigated by the FTC. http://t.co/RBrkMR36cd
— Christopher Soghoian (@csoghoian) January 29, 2015
It turned out to be Box, not Dropbox, but I’ll bet neither company was happy with Perkins Coie for letting that slip. And it probably runs afoul of Rule 1.6.
There’s a lesson here for lawyers. It only takes a couple of pieces of information for a clever person to draw some accurate conclusions. Be very careful about the information you share about your clients in public places like your website. Even if you think it’s not enough information for someone to put a name to your client, you might be surprised. And if you are, you might wind up talking to an ethics investigator.