The Misguided Practice of CC’ing Clients on
Emails to Opposing Counsel
CHRISTOPHER B. HOPKINS
In March 2020, as professionals worked
from home due to COVID-19, Zoom video
conferences surged in popularity while,
conversely, lawyers cast weary glances
at the Alexa device in their home office,
wondering if it was recording confidential
As of this writing, rumors abound on social
media about the security of both platforms.
With little hard evidence, a BigLaw firm
publicly broadcast its ban on these devices.
While society struggles with its relationship
with ubiquitous communication devices,
let us at least properly configure our Zoom
and Alexa privacy settings.
Zoom Video: Recommended Settings
As a brief primer, Zoom throws a few
numbers at you which can be confusing. A
Personal Meeting ID (PMI) is a virtual room
assigned to you alone; this is visible on the
URL, called a Personal Link, when you invite
someone to your personal meeting room.
Your Meeting ID is a temporary number
for a scheduled meeting. The Meeting ID
typically expires after your meeting unless
you create a recurring meeting. These
links and IDs may be confusing but the
important point is that, without proper
precautions, they can be hacked, re-used,
or simply guessed by third parties.
The first rule of Zoom meetings is to
avoid “zoom bombing” uninvited guests
who disrupt the meeting by sharing
pornography and malware or who simply
lurk to obtain confidential information.
Follow these steps to block uninvited
Password-Protect Your Meetings - Under
Meetings / Schedule a New Meeting, tick
the “require a meeting password” which
then sends to participants the password
along with the Meeting ID.
Kick Them Out - Under “Manage Partici-
pants” on the desktop and “Participants” on
iOS, you can mute and remove participants.
Lock the Meeting - Once all participants
arrive, lock the door behind you. On the
desktop, select “manage participants,” then
“more,” and check “lock the meeting.” On
iOS, hit “more” and then, under “Meeting
Settings,” lock the meeting.
Is This Being Recorded? - Zoom reports that
all participants will see a red notification
(upper left on desktop and upper right on
iOS) if the meeting is being recorded.
Only the Host Has Certain Abilities - On
the website, go to Settings and turn OFF
“Join Before Host,” “Use Personal Meeting
ID,” “Annotation,” “Remote Control,” and
“Allow Removed Participants to Rejoin.”
Meanwhile, turn ON “Allow host to put
attendees on hold” and “host only” under
Hypervigilance Against Zoom-Bombing-
To really lockdown meetings, on the
website, turn off “Join Before Host” and
“File Transfer” but turn on “Require
Password for… Phone” and, towards the
bottom, turn on “Waiting Room.” You will
need to Google how to use Waiting Rooms.
The following steps will assist in protecting
your privacy during a Zoom meeting:
Spacebar To Mute - press and hold spacebar
to temporarily mute yourself.
Set a Virtual Background - The benefit of
a virtual background is that participants
cannot see the room behind you, whether
that includes privileged information on a
wall calendar or… a snoring pug. Select a
high definition shot of the Enterprise, the
Black Lodge from Twin Peaks, or (more
boring) your firm’s logo. On the desktop
app, go to Settings / Virtual Background.
On iOS, hit “more” in the upper right
corner and select virtual desktop. Check
out Unsplash.com and Modsy.com for
Am I Being Recorded? - By default, Zoom
conferences can only be recorded by
the host however, keep in mind, just
like someone can take a screenshot of
a SnapChat, they can screen capture or
otherwise record their computer without
Really Concerned about Privacy? - According
to The Intercept, Zoom is not truly end-
to-end encrypted and it is definitely not
encrypted if someone can attend by phone.
If all participants will use Zoom and not
the phone, increase your privacy when
scheduling a new meeting by changing
Audio to “computer audio” and not “both.”
PBCBA BAR BULLETIN
Look Your Best - While not strictly a privacy
issue, on the desktop app, tap the cog wheel,
then video, then Touch Up My Appearance.
On iOS, select “more,” then Meeting Settings,
and turn on Touch Up My Appearance.
Alexa: Recommended Settings
According to Amazon, “you’ll always know
when Alexa is recording… because a blue
light indicator will appear or an audio tone
will sound…” What is less clear is what
third parties are doing with your data or if
voice apps have the power to control the
What Has Alexa Heard? - In the Alexa app,
tap the three lines in the upper left corner
and then go to Settings / Alexa Privacy /
Review Voice History. Scroll through (and
delete) the recent commands she recorded.
Set Up Delete By Voice Command - Following
those same steps, toggle on “Enable deletion
by voice.” Then later you can instruct Alexa
“delete what I [just said][said today].”
Auto Delete Old Recordings - Follow the
same instructions but choose Manage Your
Alexa Data and set auto delete to either
after 3 or 18 months.
Turn Off “Use Voice Recordings to Improve
Amazon Services” - Again, using the same
steps, go to “Manage Your Alexa Data” and
slide that option off.
What Just Happened? - If Alexa ever acts
strangely, you can always ask, "Alexa, tell
me what you heard" or “why did you do
Alexa, who wrote this article?
Christopher B. Hopkins is a cybersecurity
lawyer with McDonald Hopkins LLC. He can
be reached at [email protected]
and @cbhopkins on Twitter.