f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 17, 2004

Abetting Deception

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 11:46 am

As if there weren’t enough deception in the world, Inter Alia  has uncovered software that allows cell phone callers to “add a background sound to any incoming or outgoing call, giving the impression that you really are in the environment where the background sound is normally heard.”   This tawdry product uses the catchphrase “hide behind sound, make it your alibi.”  Their sales pitch says:

lawyer cellphone flip  You can pretend you have another phone call, or are in a traffic jam, at the dentist, in the park, on the street, caught in a thunderstorm, near heavy machinery or at a circus parade.  In fact, “The possibilities are endless!  You can even use your own prerecorded sounds or sounds downloaded from the Internet.”

hammock . .

I can already imagine cell phones equipped with the sound of church organs, or a crying baby, and can’t wait to hear background sounds that conjure up the modern workplace or library.

just say no You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the product, nor linked to it.  I have no intention to help my readers find it.  What I would like to do, however, is to remind lawyers of their duty to avoid conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. (Model Rule 8.4DR 1-102)   In my opinion, the use of such “background falsifiers” in a professional context — e.g., to deceive a court, client or opposing counsel — should be grounds for discipline.

In a world where honesty and integrity is valued less and less — and where many lawyers (as well as politiicans, spouses and teenagers) engage in misleading word parsing and seem to be proud of it — we need to just say no to technology that makes deception easier than ever to accomplish.  And, sadly, we need to be on guard against falling victim to such deception.

  • Update (03-18-04):  (sigh) Nancy of The Stark County Law Library Blawg says that Inter Alia’s “Tom Mighell found a real gem!”  To paraphrase the recent great Parsedent of the USA, “I did not have phone sex with that Librarian.  I was at the dentist at the time.”

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