Monday, July 07, 2014

WestlawNext User Annotations Stored on US Servers

Bronwyn Guiton, a librarian at the Vancouver law firm Lawson Lundell LLP, has compiled responses from Canadian law librarians regarding WestlawNext user-made annotations being stored on servers in the USA, thus making them subject to the US Patriot Act.

Her summary has been posted to the website of the Canadian Association of Law Libraries:
"WestlawNext is a new version of Westlaw that is being rolled out –or has already been rolled out— to subscribers. On WestlawNext, users can now add their own notes or highlighting ('annotations') to a decision, case, or journal article. For example, a lawyer can annotate a paragraph of a decision to say, 'Note to self – the damages aspect of this discussion could be useful for my closing arguments for XYZ case'."

"The issue is that annotations are stored on servers in the United States and therefore subject to the Patriot Act."

"The decision on how to deal with annotations will ultimately come down to your organization’s answers to the following questions:"
"Is it problematic that annotations are stored on servers located in the United States?"
"If the answer is yes, then:
Is it enough to remind lawyers not to record confidential information in the annotations in WestlawNext, or must this feature be supressed so that users can’t see it and use it at all?"

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:00 pm


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