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Upchurch Watson White & Max Establishes Model Cybersecurity Protocol for Mediation Videoconferences

The mediation group, with nine offices in Florida and Alabama and a panel of 43 professional neutrals, drafted the policy statement in response to widely reported security concerns about the popular video meeting platform Zoom

John Upchurch, CEO and president of Upchurch Watson White & Max Mediation Group, announced Friday that, to assure security and privacy, the group has adopted “a set of principles to govern all video conference mediations conducted by members of the firm, regardless of the platform in use for a particular case.”

Since the coronavirus pandemic began to oblige social distancing in Florida in March, UWWM panel members have conducted more than 200 mediations and arbitrations by video conference on various platforms, including Zoom, WebEx and GoToMeeting. Nearly 130 are already on the books for the next few months, aside from in-person mediations and arbitrations likely to take place after restrictions are lifted.

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Because of UWWM’s experience in online dispute resolution, Florida Justice Association leadership asked the group to formulate “a uniform approach” to cybersecurity for these proceedings. A particular concern about virtual mediations was the ability of participants to record the meeting.”

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Announced last week, UWWM’s model protocol, which can be found in its entirety here, calls for security measures such as disabling the recording function for the host and all attendees and reiterating “to all that recording a mediation is illegal and subject to severe sanctions by the court.”

Also among the seven tenets of the protocol are measures to ensure a secure Internet connection, to allow only authorized attendees to take part in the proceedings, and to stay up-to-date with all software required by the videoconference platforms the group uses.

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