Transferring legal and confidential files?

Subject: Transferring legal and confidential files?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, James Jones <doc-x -at- earthlink -dot- net>
Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2006 21:21:41 -0400

James Jones wondered: <<I do technical communication and translation things for clients from my home office. Sometimes a client will be an attorney who needs translations of stuff, and sometimes that stuff will be of a confidential nature, What say you with regard to keeping confidential stuff confidential on the Internet?>>

One obvious option is to think laterally: put the stuff on a CD and ship the CD Fedex. Of course, sometimes shit happens even with the best couriers; I recall losing a batch of color slides I'd couriered to the printer when the slide box tore a hole in the envelope. The slides were found and returned because (paranoid that I am <g>) I'd labeled the box. But if they'd been valuable and confidential... trouble.

So the larger issue is not so much how to transfer the information as much as it is one of encryption: your real goal is to protect the information if it's intercepted in transit, not to mention if someone steals your computer. (You'll also need to determine what your backup needs are: they must be secure against data loss and secure against theft.) Your clients should be able to tell you what they consider acceptable levels of security, and that's the first thing you need to find out. Then get it in writing, with appropriate legal weasel words to cover you against things that aren't your fault or that aren't explicitly stated in the agreement.

There are a range of utilities out there for protecting Acrobat and other files, but Google on the file type plus the words "password cracker" and you'll discover that this is only the most casual form of security. Zip files (PC) and Stuffit files (Mac) can be password protected, but with the same caveats--low tech, and low security, but good enough for some purposes.

The usual one-size-fits-all solution that offers ostensibly unbeatable security is some form of public-key encryption. The two groups I recall reading about a few years back were PGP ("pretty good privacy"; and RSA ( No personal experience with either, but perhaps other list members can provide the necessary details. But the problem with all such approaches is that the weakness lies in the human behind the encryption, not the encryption itself; if someone steals your private key, you might as well not have bothered.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com


WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content delivery. Try it today!

Easily create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to any popular Help file format or printed documentation. Learn more at

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- infoinfocus -dot- com -dot-
To unsubscribe send a blank email to techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

transferring legal and confidential files: From: James Jones

Previous by Author: New Templates? (take II)
Next by Author: "usability"?
Previous by Thread: transferring legal and confidential files
Next by Thread: Re: transferring legal and confidential files

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads