Massachusetts Bar Association Opinion 00-1

Topic: E-mail Encryption

Summary of the Committee:

A lawyer’s use of unencrypted Internet e-mail to engage in confidential communications with his or her client does not violate Massachusetts Rule of Professional Conduct 1.6(a) in usual circumstances. Legal and technical hurdles to the interception of Internet e-mail give rise to a reasonable expectation on the part of lawyer and client that such communications will remain private. The lawyer must be careful, however, to ensure that confidential messages are not sent to e-mail addresses that are reasonably accessible to persons other than the client, and to avoid using unencrypted Internet e-mail in contravention of the client’s express instructions.”


  • Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct 1.6(a)
  • 18 U.S.C.A. 2510, et .seq. (the “Electronic Communications Privacy Act”)


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