Is your data safe? LGFL’s guide to securing our client’s privacy

The high profile cases of Ashley Madison user details online, and the cyber attack on Mumsnet highlight the potential vulnerability of data held online when not properly secured. Whilst it is these high-level hacks that grab the headlines, as family lawyers we are more concerned with data security at a day-to-day level.


illustration phone with lock and padlock with @ signMany of us access our emails, for example, across multiple devices including phones, desktop computers and smart phones. While the email account may be protected by a password, more often than not we type that in once and ask the device to remember it. So, when we next start up our phone or email programme, the emails pop in without any need for further security checks.


It is both convenient and time-efficient, but it also lays your information open to anyone who can access your computer, phone or tablet. This concerns us because if you have a jealous or possessive spouse, or are in the middle of a divorce, you need to ensure that you have made safeguards to preserve your privacy. If your spouse can read your emails and texts, especially from us, then this could impact on your case.

For spouses wanting to keep close tabs on their partner, an article in The Telegraph highlights the possibility of tracking activity on mobile phones, simply by knowing the IMEI of the phone. By adding software to a separate phone, users can automatically receive copies of texts and emails sent to the monitored phone. The monitored phone can also be tracked using GPS and the software can even activate the audio to listen in on non-phone conversations.

While the majority of us would not consider such drastic measures, if you feel the need to secure your correspondence, here are some tips from our own technical advisors:


  • Lock your mobile phone with a new passcode

Choose a random set of numbers (not a child’s birth year, for example) and don’t write it down. This is the first line of defense against anyone accessing your texts and emails, whether partner, spouse or phone thief.


  • Change your email password

You can do this by signing in to your email account and changing it online. An email is usually sent to confirm the change – make sure you delete this once you have received it. You will then need to change the settings on your desktop or laptop computer email program and all devices as a result. Changing your password will ensure nobody can view your emails by logging into your online web email account, which they could do from anywhere without your knowledge.


  • Don’t log into sites or apps using your Facebook account

Many sites offer this facility, but it means that if someone knows your Facebook password, they have instant access to many other website accounts and apps too.


  • Change your Facebook password and security settings

Use a mixture of letters and numbers to create a password nobody in your family could guess. Again, don’t allow your phone, laptop or desktop compute to save the password for you. This means you will have to type your password in every time you want to access Facebook, but ensures only you can post. Make your Facebook posts visible to Friends only, and unFriend anyone you don’t want to see your posts.


  • Consider setting up a temporary email account

You can set up a Google Mail account for any sensitive correspondence, for free, and either access this online, or via one mobile device only. Again, do not allow the password to be saved on the device or computer, so you have to type in the password every time to access your mail. It is inconvenient, but worthwhile.


  • Get a second mobile phone

If you are concerned that your mobile phone may have been accessed or tracked in some way, buy a refurbished used handset and a Pay As You Go SIM card from a supermarket provider or similar. Only use this phone for sensitive data and conversations, as per the email advice above. Consider leaving this phone at work where your spouse will not be able to access it or indeed even know of its existence.


  • Seek expert advice

If all the above is complete techno-babble, ask for help. Pop into your local mobile phone shop and ask them to show you the security settings. Go to Facebook help and look up how to change settings. If you are still stuck, look for a locally based tech expert and hire them for a couple of hours to help you. The relatively small investment will pay dividends in the long run.


Our commitment to your confidentiality

At LGFL, we will always be mindful of your confidentiality and can communicate with you in any way that you request. Also, our email is hosted within a secure, enterprise-level data centre, with two separate backup centres and fully redundant infrastructure, so your correspondence with us is both safe and secure at our end. 

We’re here to help

If you or anyone you know has been subjected to such forms of violation of privacy by their partner or an ex-partner, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a no obligation 30 minute consultation.