Prison phone company recorded private lawyer-inmate calls, hack reveals NYSE Post

Calling it “the most massive breach of the attorney-client privilege in modern US history”, the American Civil Liberties Union told The Intercept that while prisoners lose many of their constitutional rights, the right to speak privately with an attorney – related to the Sixth Amendment – must be protected. Today, the Intercept published a report on Securus Technologies-a jail telephone service provider that is heretofore best known for gouging the shit out of detainees and their families-based on a cache of metadata and recordings of tens of millions of calls provided to the outlet by an anonymous hacker. According to The Intercept, the hacker was concerned that inmates’ constitutional rights had been violated and submitted the phone records to the online news organization. The breach highlights two major issues, the first being that Securus’ systems aren’t as well protected as they claim; the second is that the current system for preventing attorneys’ calls from being recorded isn’t watertight. (The Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s offender phone system is subcontracted to Securus, according to a TDCJ spokesman). “Although this investigation is ongoing, we have seen no evidence that records were shared as a result of a technology breach or hack into our systems”. “Securus could have built an amazingly secure platform, but poor IT operations processes around that may have exposed it to exploits”, he said. “Particularly notable within the vast trove of phone records are what appear to be at least 14,000 recorded conversations between inmates and attorneys, a strong indication that at least a few of the recordings are likely confidential and privileged legal communications – calls that never should have been recorded in the first place”, Jordan Smith and Micah Lee reported at The Intercept. In addition to metadata, each phone call record includes a “recording URL” where the audio recordings of the calls can be downloaded. While there have been complaints about Securus in the past recording attorney-client calls, the company says these calls were all recorded with permission. “They are calls to everybody they would call: loved ones and attorneys”, Smith says. Street Roots will update this story as that information becomes available. “Attorneys are able to register their numbers to exempt them from the recording that is standard for other inmate calls”, the company said. The blanket recording of detainee phone calls is a fairly recent phenomenon, the official objective of which is to protect individuals both inside and outside the nation’s prisons and jails. Boise said he hears that notification during less than 5 percent of the calls he’s on to the jail. The suit claims that prosecutors have disclosed the recordings to defense attorneys during discovery, and that other prosecutors have used information from the calls “to their tactical advantage”. Reports indicated that lawyers and authorities found many problems with the Securus system during their investigation that could have caused private attorney calls to be improperly recorded. “We have to use the phones”, Metropolitan Public Defender Chris O’Connor said. Pedersen wasn’t on a secure line and would have been notified the call was not privileged, Alexander said.


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