Attorney Encryption Now at Rights Con 2016

Constitutional Communications had great success at Rights Con 2016. We gave three presentations and got David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Freedom of Opinion and Expression, to publically support our position that we must update professional ethics for the 21st century by requiring encryption for all attorney client communication.

The first presentation was “Cybersecurity, professional ethics and encryption: How and why professionals must encrypt”.  The second was a training for trainers “Organizational security: Moving communications from individual privacy to collective safety”. The third was a private presentation for litigation attorneys on the need to change professional standards to require end-to-end open source encryption for all attorney client communications.

We also had the great honor of dialoging with David Kaye, the UN Speical Rapporteur on the Freedom of Opinion and Expression.  After David mentioned that the UN currently has no secure encrypted method for contacting the Special Rapporteur about human rights abuse, Jonathan got to ask him if he supported changing professional standards to require encryption for all attorney client information. He whole heartedly agreed with our position! You can watch the exchange here:

Concomms at Rightscon 2016

ConComms will be attending Rights Con 2016 in Silicon Valley, hosted by from March 30th-April 1st. Jonathan will be part of leading two sessions. The first is “Cybersecurity, professional ethics and encryption: How and why professionals must encrypt” And the second is a training for trainers “Organizational security: Moving communications from individual privacy to collective safety”


Hope to see people there! You can follow us at on twitter @con_comms

ConComms joins 195 organizations signing Security For All letter

ConComms joins 195 organizations in signing open letter to the leaders of the world’s governments:

We encourage you to support the safety and security of users, companies, and governments by strengthening the integrity of communications and systems. In doing so, governments should reject laws, policies, or other mandates or practices, including secret agreements with companies, that limit access to or undermine encryption and other secure communications tools and technologies.

  • Governments should not ban or otherwise limit user access to encryption in any form or otherwise prohibit the implementation or use of encryption by grade or type;
  • Governments should not mandate the design or implementation of “backdoors” or vulnerabilities into tools, technologies, or services;
  • Governments should not require that tools, technologies, or services are designed or developed to allow for third-party access to unencrypted data or encryption keys;
  • Governments should not seek to weaken or undermine encryption standards or intentionally influence the establishment of encryption standards except to promote a higher level of information security. No government should mandate insecure encryption algorithms, standards, tools, or technologies; and
  • Governments should not, either by private or public agreement, compel or pressure an entity to engage in activity that is inconsistent with the above tenets.

National Academy Of Continuing Legal Education features ConComms CLE

“Ethics and Technology: Recent Developments and Potential Risks That NO Lawyer Can Ignore” featured in National Acadamy Of Legal Education Program

ConComms CLE featured in National Academy Of Legal Education

Attorneys in practice today are being faced with a myriad of IT security and privacy issues. Therefore it is more imperative than ever for attorneys to understand recent technological developments and the risks associated with them, including their widely acknowledged duty to stay conversant with technology in order to represent their clients adequately and assure confidentiality of client data and privileged communications.

Indeed there is on-going debate about how far the ethics rules should or should not go in mandating specifics steps, such as encryption, to ensure the protection of client data, including recent ethics opinions or comments by bar associations around the country.

A panel of ethicists and technical experts will lead the discussion that no New York attorney can afford to miss, especially sole practitioners, small and mid-sized firm members who typically do not have in-house technical resources to rely on.

The National Academy of Continuing Legal Education is a provider of accredited continuing legal education courses throughout the United States. From its inception, the Academy has been firmly committed to addressing the needs of attorneys and has positioned itself as a leading provider of cost-effective and time-efficient continuing legal education courses. In addition to live seminars, NACLE provides full course credit via Website/Online, DVD, Audio CD and CD-ROM depending on the respective state.

ConComms CLE featured in National Academy Of Legal Education

Encryption for Lawyers at Civic Hall

Encryption for Lawyers (ConComms presentation)

Location: 156 5th ave, 2nd fl. Workshop Room, NY, NY

8:30am – 9:30am EST

February 8, 2016

In the wake of the Snowden revelations, many in the legal profession have grown concerned about the ramifications of surveillance and encryption. Law and discourse about the legality of encryption are rapidly evolving. But encryption and privacy also have day-to-day implications for attorney-client privilege. What do lawyers need to do in order to maintain client confidentiality?

Join Gus Andrews with guests Harlo Holmes from Freedom of the Press Foundation and Jonathan Stribling-Uss from Constitutional Communications for a brief breakfast presentation and discussion about best practices in digital privacy and law. Talk with other lawyers about their experiences using secure technology within their firms.

RSVP here
Key Words: Crypto Law

The NSA v. Lawyers

Lawyers, the NSA, and Mass Surveillance: Constitutional Communications at NYCLA

Recent Developments and Potential Risks that NO Lawyer Should Ignore: Part of an accredited Continuing Legal Education (CLE) class at the NYCLA bar with Constitutional Communications and others. A detailed presentation showing the ethical compromises and insecurity facing unencrypted attorney-client information. The full program can be accessed for the cost of a CLE at


Annual Report 2015

ConComms Annual Report 2015

We had an amazing year in 2015, we trained nearly 400 people in secure communication, legal ethics and mass surveillance, and I am excited that over 150 of those people have been attorneys and law students. We also provided training to 278 civil society leaders from 35 countries. We have found that a wide range of audiences – from lawyers who are a part of the NY County Lawyers Association (NYCLA) Bar Association, to attorneys who serve with the Movement for Black Lives, journalists and human rights activists from around the world – are invested in developing secure communications capacities. We also got some great media at the end of the year with NY Mag writing a piece about our trainings and a solid video of our presentation and debate at a accredited continuing legal education program at NYCLA.

Please find our 6pg annual report here:

Annual Report 2015

@ BK Library: Emerging Issues in Cybersecurity, Professional Ethics and Technology: Tools for Today

Emerging Issues in Cybersecurity, Professional Ethics and Technology: Tools for Today @ BK Library

Friday, January 22, 2016 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Central Library, Info Commons Lab

We have reached a tipping point on the issues of professional ethics, secure communications, and data security. From criminal defense attorneys representing domestic clients to library staff assisting patrons with online research and basic technology access to journalists needing to keep their sources safe, all professionals are impacted by the new political and technological reality of multi-state mass surveillance technology. As the world’s highest legal official for counter-terrorism and human rights, the UN Special Rapporteur, concluded in a recent report on cybersecurity, “The hard truth is that the use of mass surveillance technology effectively does away with the right to privacy of communications on the Internet altogether.”

But there are still steps we can, and should, take as individuals and as professionals to protect our own and others’ data. In this session we will discuss the current challenging climate and help participants—journalists, librarians, attorneys, and anyone else who is interested—understand how to ethically engage with information technology. There will be time at the end for questions about specific privacy-protecting tools, so bring your laptop or other device.

Jonathan Stribling-Uss, Esq is the director of Constitutional Communications, a nonprofit organization that specializes in information security for professionals and civil society organizations. He has led trainings and CLEs for nearly two hundred attorneys on cybersecurity, privacy rights, and attorney-client communications with the NYCLA Bar Association, Law For Black Lives, and the Continuing Legal Resource Network at CUNY.  He has also trained journalists, grantors, activists, and technologists at the Center for Constitutional Rights, Thoughtworks, the International Development Exchange, the Bertha Foundation, the Legal Clinics of CUNY School of Law, and Brazil de Fato.

Age Group: Adults

NY Magazine on ConComms Event at Mayday Space

Protect Your Awkward Selfies From Big Brother at This Skill Share in Bushwick

By Kavitha Surana

Reposted from:

An anti-surveillance skill share is happening at Mayday

Ever heard of a yottabyte? It’s 1,000 times the size of the internet and the amount of data the U.S. government can hold in its Utah Data Center, Jonathan Stribling-Uss, the director of Constitutional Communications, tells me.

If you haven’t seen Citizenfour yet or read any of Glenn Greenwald‘s stuff, here’s a newsflash: The U.S. government is keeping track of all your online and phone interactions, 24/7, picking up every last awkward text message to a crush or drunk phone call you’d rather forget. (Not to mention the hackers who are getting ever better at infiltrating your system.)

If you’re not into handing all your privacy to big brother, head to this beginner anti-surveillance skill share at the activist community center Mayday in Bushwick at 3 PM on Saturday, where Stribling-Uss will teach you the latest on cyber-security and data protection.

Stribling-Uss first learned to encrypt messages after he was deported from China in 2008 for taking part in a demonstration to support Tibet. Thanks to secure texting and calling tools, his group had managed to avoid surveillance and unfurl Tibetan flags at the Beijing Olympics.

“We wouldn’t have been able to communicate without that,” he said. “In China, they monitor all the networks.” At the time, he didn’t know the U.S. was using the same methods to surveil, both internationally and at home.

Now his organization trains lawyers, journalists, non-profits and movements like Black Lives Matter, to ensure that their communications systems are protected from both the government and hackers.

This Saturday, show up to Mayday with a laptop and USB drive (suggested donation is $10-$20) and he’ll teach you a primer on the anti-surveillance toolkit: onion routers, Tor, OTR (Off The Record Chat) and PGP email servers (Pretty Good Privacy). You’ll leave with “the world’s most secure operating system” and a bundle of security tools.

Aren’t sure if you should be concerned? Who cares about the awkward selfies you send your friends? Think again. Stribling-Uss says a well-known organization was hacked for ransom in the middle of a training he was giving. “It’s way more common than we are made to believe because no one goes public,” he said.

And don’t be scared off by those onion routers. Hiding data trails is already common practice in many areas of our lives, like the work place (office passes) or home (garage door openers). “People think of this stuff as very arcane and the word ‘encrypt’ is very weird and complicated,” Stribling-Uss said. “There are very concrete steps that individuals and groups can do to have a very high degree of security and privacy from most hacking and mass surveillance.”

Still got an appetite for more? Why not check out this Bushwick/Bed Stuy cop watch training open house after you’re done updating your system. It’s taking place at The Base community organization at 7 PM.

Why Lawyers Need Encryption: Video presentation and debate about encryption and ethics at New York County Lawyers Association

Video presentation and debate about encryption and ethics at New York County Lawyers Association


“Ethics and Technology” is a accredited presentation and debate on encryption, mass surveillance, legal ethics and attorney client communications at the recent NYCLA (NY County Lawyer’s Association) Continuing Legal Education. Five attorneys debated the question raised by Constitutional Communications about the need to change the attorney client ethics Rule 1.6 to require the provision of user side open source encryption for attorney client communication.

The full 3 hour CLE video can be viewed on NYCLA’s site for the cost of a CLE here.

Everything above is released under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike