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Alan Wernick.

From the increasing use of drone technology to the growth of the internet of things (IoT), privacy and cybersecurity in 2017 may be more complex than ever before. For legal veteran Alan S. Wernick, a privacy and cybersecurity expert who recently joined Carlile Patchen & Murphy on the firm’s business team, 2017 presents as many opportunities as it does challenges.

Legaltech News recently caught up with Wernick to discuss his long, tech-focused legal career, his views on what the cybersecurity landscape will look like in 2017 and his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities facing drone technology.

Legal Tech Pros: Alan Wernick

LTN: What spurred your interest and eventual career in the privacy and cybersecurity space?

AW: I became interested in computer technology at a very young age; I built my first computer when I was 9. In law school, I thought about how computers may impact the legal profession and, under the guidance of one of my law school professors, I did an independent study course on the use of computers to teach law, but never thought lawyers would be doing much [with computers] in practice at that time.

In 1982, however, I became aware that were a few other lawyers in the U.S. that were doing something called computer law, and I decided that’s something I wanted to do, to combine my interest and background in computers together with the law. So I transitioned from my in-house position to work as an associate with a lawyer in the New York area as one of the pioneers in computer law, and, as they say, the rest is history.

From my perspective, privacy and cybersecurity law is really part of that evolution, and my background and experience in technology law and intellectual property law provide both the substantive and practical perspective for the developing issues of privacy and cybersecurity law.

How do you see the cybersecurity landscape evolving in 2017?

I think cyberthreats will continue to evolve in 2017, including an increase of IoT attacks, rogue hacking, ransomware attacks, global threats, malware attacks, and social engineering, which cybercriminals seem to be improving their skill set in.

Also, another big threat that may be addressed in 2017 as law enforcement and governments around the world grapple with these problems. One of the biggest threats, after all, is the jurisdictional issues surrounding the current legal and technical infrastructure in which the cybersecurity threats are executed.

Cybercriminals executing cyberthreats—they do live somewhere in the physical world, and presently they make take some comfort [in knowing] that law enforcement can’t reach them. But I think that’s going to be changing. We may see some changes in that regard [with] international laws and treaties being amended to address the new reality of the borderless internet and help facilitate law enforcements’ ability to capture cyber criminals, regardless of geographic borders.

What challenges and opportunities face the rising use of drone technology?

We are going to see a continued increase in drone technology and drones on a consumer level, but there is also going to be continued use of drone technology in business as well. [Potential legal issues include] things like drone-jacking, where control of the drone is taken over by an unauthorized person, who then tries to operate the function of the drone.

There’s [also] potential damage to physical property or people when drones literally fall from the sky, and there are certainly privacy concerns because of the nature of the technology.

The same technology, however, provides many useful opportunities, in real estate, for instance, with the selling and buying of homes and the need for surveying lands. Or in insurance, for evaluating claims or inspecting property underwriting or damage. A lot of good things can come out of this technology.

But there are other concerns about privacy that has to be addressed as the technology evolves. The FAA earlier this year provided regulations addressing the use of drones and additional regulation are in the works and forthcoming.


Alan Wernick.

From the increasing use of drone technology to the growth of the internet of things (IoT), privacy and cybersecurity in 2017 may be more complex than ever before. For legal veteran Alan S. Wernick, a privacy and cybersecurity expert who recently joined Carlile Patchen & Murphy on the firm’s business team, 2017 presents as many opportunities as it does challenges.

Legaltech News recently caught up with Wernick to discuss his long, tech-focused legal career, his views on what the cybersecurity landscape will look like in 2017 and his thoughts on the challenges and opportunities facing drone technology.

Legal Tech Pros: Alan Wernick

LTN: What spurred your interest and eventual career in the privacy and cybersecurity space?

AW: I became interested in computer technology at a very young age; I built my first computer when I was 9. In law school, I thought about how computers may impact the legal profession and, under the guidance of one of my law school professors, I did an independent study course on the use of computers to teach law, but never thought lawyers would be doing much [with computers] in practice at that time.

In 1982, however, I became aware that were a few other lawyers in the U.S. that were doing something called computer law, and I decided that’s something I wanted to do, to combine my interest and background in computers together with the law. So I transitioned from my in-house position to work as an associate with a lawyer in the New York area as one of the pioneers in computer law, and, as they say, the rest is history.

From my perspective, privacy and cybersecurity law is really part of that evolution, and my background and experience in technology law and intellectual property law provide both the substantive and practical perspective for the developing issues of privacy and cybersecurity law.

How do you see the cybersecurity landscape evolving in 2017?

I think cyberthreats will continue to evolve in 2017, including an increase of IoT attacks, rogue hacking, ransomware attacks, global threats, malware attacks, and social engineering, which cybercriminals seem to be improving their skill set in.

Also, another big threat that may be addressed in 2017 as law enforcement and governments around the world grapple with these problems. One of the biggest threats, after all, is the jurisdictional issues surrounding the current legal and technical infrastructure in which the cybersecurity threats are executed.

Cybercriminals executing cyberthreats—they do live somewhere in the physical world, and presently they make take some comfort [in knowing] that law enforcement can’t reach them. But I think that’s going to be changing. We may see some changes in that regard [with] international laws and treaties being amended to address the new reality of the borderless internet and help facilitate law enforcements’ ability to capture cyber criminals, regardless of geographic borders.

What challenges and opportunities face the rising use of drone technology?

We are going to see a continued increase in drone technology and drones on a consumer level, but there is also going to be continued use of drone technology in business as well. [Potential legal issues include] things like drone-jacking, where control of the drone is taken over by an unauthorized person, who then tries to operate the function of the drone.

There’s [also] potential damage to physical property or people when drones literally fall from the sky, and there are certainly privacy concerns because of the nature of the technology.

The same technology, however, provides many useful opportunities, in real estate, for instance, with the selling and buying of homes and the need for surveying lands. Or in insurance, for evaluating claims or inspecting property underwriting or damage. A lot of good things can come out of this technology.

But there are other concerns about privacy that has to be addressed as the technology evolves. The FAA earlier this year provided regulations addressing the use of drones and additional regulation are in the works and forthcoming.