Incarcerated individuals in the United States have limited rights, particularly when it comes to their right to privacy. However, there is still the right of attorney-client privilege, which appears to have been violated with a massive hack of Securus, which was revealed last year. Securus is a telecommunications company based in Dallas that specializes in phone and video visitation for those behind bars. In 2015, it was revealed that the company sustained a huge data breach that compromised the records of more than 70 million phone calls over a 2.5 year period.
Millions of phone records leaked
It is not uncommon for phone records to be recorded when calls are made or received by prison inmates. That’s why there was an abundance of available recordings that hackers gained access to before leaking the content via SecureDrop. The hacker remains anonymous, but the case has stirred up significant controversy because a large number of calls appear to be conversations between clients and their attorneys. While few things remain sacred when a person is incarcerated, attorney-client privilege is still a protected constitutional right.
Attorney-client privilege potentially violated
It is estimated that about 14,000 of the leaked calls were attorney-client calls, a large handful of which were likely confidential communications. Therefore, they never should have been recorded in the first place, yet alone leaked.
Action from the FCC
The high cost that Securus charges to inmates for phone calls already had the company under scrutiny when the breach was revealed, but now the FCC is taking action to change the company’s policies, pricing, and security measures. Additionally, the public is now questioning the company’s promise of high standards of security, which it states are backed by the most technologically advanced system available. With a data breach on such a large scale, there is clearly a gap between the services the company provides and the ones they promise.