Thursday, January 6, 2011

E-Discovery to Serve the Small Litigant

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Lawyers engaged in civil litigation on smaller matters face uncertainty regarding the extent to which electronically stored information must be preserved. They are justifiably worried about the costs associated with identifying, preserving, collecting, reviewing, and producing this information. This uncertainty, and a lack of understanding of the technical issues involved, forces many lawyers to choose one of two extremes: overpreservation to prevent sanctions or an abdication of preservation responsibilities to vendors or the clients themselves.

Add to this circumstance a recent opinion by U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis in Orbit One Communications Inc. v. Numerex Corp., 2010 WL 4615547 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 26, 2010). In Orbit One, the court questioned the usefulness of the principal of proportionality, saying that the reasonableness and proportionality standard "may prove too amorphous to provide much comfort to a party deciding what files it may delete or backup tapes it may recycle. Until a more precise definition is created by rule, a party is well-advised to 'retain all relevant documents (but not multiple identical copies) in existence at the time the duty to preserve attaches.'" Id. at *6 (citing Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLP, 220 F.R.D. 212 (S.D.N.Y. 2003).

Read more here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Top NYC e-Discovery Provider Picks Lateral Data's Viewpoint All-In-One Solution Based on Product's Document Review Capabilities

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HOUSTON, Nov. 29, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- E-Discovery technology leader Lateral Data, LP today announced that Smart Data Consulting, a national provider of technology consulting and e-Discovery services to legal, government and corporate entities, has adopted Lateral Data's Viewpoint™ all-in-one e-Discovery software as a primary service alternative for its clients. In addition to speeding the e-Discovery process through its full-spectrum approach, Viewpoint will provide Smart Data clients with advanced review capabilities—a strength that played a major role in the consulting firm's decision.

New York City-based Smart Data is a trusted provider of proven and defensible e-Discovery services to many of the nation's most prominent law firms and corporations. The company executes projects in all phases of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM); such as a full range of forensic data acquisition services, forensic analysis, advanced data processing, and key term identification.

Read more here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Digital Copiers May Soon be Targeted by eDiscovery Requests

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A report recently released by cites a CBS study, which found digital copy machines may soon become targets of eDiscovery requests. The drives on the machines involved in the study contained several thousand documents in some instances. However, some of them were not available without the use of forensic software. reports that many legal IT experts believe organizations including digital copiers in discovery requests must understand that they store data differently than computers. Furthermore, since they are not subject to retention schedules, some requests may yield little evidence.

While the news provider reports including a digital copier in a discovery request can be successful, relying on it as a primary source of evidence is not advisable. This is especially true as many organizations have started using software designed to completely erase drives on their digital copiers, since they are not subject to retention regulations.

Even as advises seeking evidence other than that gathered from digital copiers, eDiscovery advisors should be aware of the technology. With major firms hiring entire staffs specifically for eDiscovery, including an IT specialist as part of the team and outlining a clear process will help improve the outcome of eDiscovery requests.

Read more here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guidance Software Delivers New Approach for Effective In-House e-Discovery

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PASADENA, Calif., Aug 31, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Guidance Software, Inc. /quotes/comstock/15*!guid/quotes/nls/guid (GUID 5.02, +0.08, +1.62%) today delivered a new unified e-discovery software platform that provides legal and information technology (IT) teams with an in-house electronic discovery system that enables better case decisions, faster, while reducing risk and lowering costs.

Guidance Software's EnCase(R) eDiscovery version 4 provides a single, unified solution that addresses all of the stages of the electronic discovery process that organizations want to bring in house. With EnCase eDiscovery, risk and costs are lower because organizations don't have to spend time or money trying to integrate incompatible point solutions for each step in the e-discovery process, or transfer data between, and train users on, disparate systems.

EnCase eDiscovery also offers the industry's first "true early case assessment" by allowing legal teams to analyze and review data at any stage of the electronic discovery process, enabling better case strategy decisions to be made faster.

Understanding the Data Universe Drives Better Case Strategy Decisions

EnCase eDiscovery enables enterprises to understand what their data universe looks like, who has what data and how much they have -- all available early, before collection and processing of data occurs. Users can quickly identify relevant data sources, get metrics on total data versus potentially relevant data, and understand how much data could be eliminated, which provides a solid understanding of the case's potential costs, keywords and custodians.

With this unique capability, corporate attorneys can test search criteria before electronically stored information (ESI) is collected, and customers can determine how to negotiate search terms, date and time criteria and file types before they meet-and-confer with opposing counsel. Through this optimized process, enterprises gain clear advantages with assessment before collection -- unlike other solutions that first need to have collection and processing complete before any analysis can be conducted.

Read more here!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Piloting E-Discovery Rules in the 7th Circuit

Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois had a long background as a criminal defense attorney before becoming a judge. She says that her background left her unprepared for the battles over discovery of electronic evidence she has encountered in the world of civil litigation. "I was not able to get my arms around all of the fighting over discovery," she says. "I know that some people have snickered about this idea that you can get lawyers to make nice and cooperate on discovery. But I believe it is possible."

Under the leadership of Chief Judge James F. Holderman, Nolan has helped launch a pilot program to address electronic discovery issues: 7th Circuit E-Discovery Pilot Program. Taking their cues from, among other sources, the Sedona Conference Cooperation Proclamation, the 7th Circuit E-Discovery Committee is attempting to fix some of the most intractable discovery problems in litigation.

Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure put in place at the end of 2006 were supposed to force lawyers to meet and hash out discovery issues early. However, Nolan, Holderman and other judges are frustrated that despite the rule changes, electronic discovery continues to be an expensive and inefficient process in need of reform. "The central premise of the 2006 amendments is to meet and confer with the other side and settle issues early," says Magistrate Judge John Facciola of the U.S. District Court for District of Columbia. "The fact that this project exists suggests that the hopes have not been fully realized."

The 7th Circuit sought to involve all parties in the process, including trial judges and lawyers, whether they are in-house counsel, private practitioners, government attorneys, academics, or litigation consultants. An effort was even made to bring litigants into the process, so the clients’ perspective could be heard. But as is often the case when lawyers confront discovery issues, discussions became so heated that Nolan had to step in to mediate so that a final project proposal could be drafted. "I had to do some mediation to make sure all sides got heard," she says. "It was a little trying, but it was probably good for everyone to find out they could confront the issues and not have everything implode."

The 7th Circuit, which covers the states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, launched the E-Discovery Committee in May of 2009 to take action to reduce what was perceived to be the rising burden and cost of discovery. They produced a set of principles, which provide discovery guidance for lawyers in cases that parties agree to litigate as part of this project. Nolan says that since the project has been implemented there has been very little conflict over discovery. "I think it is working, because of every case I have heard in this project, I have not had one [discovery] motion," she says.

However, the court has only just concluded phase one of the project and a new, two-year phase two should begin this fall.

Phase two will increase the number of cases, as well as participating lawyers and judges, and incorporate suggested changes from the first phase. The first phase was relatively limited in scope, so that the feedback and surveys did not always provide meaningful data. The committee hopes that with more participants, they will get more meaningful survey results and feedback to further refine and improve the project’s guidelines.

What do lawyers need from the bench to navigate e-discovery disputes? The pilot project explicitly states that "an attorney’s zealous representation of a client is NOT compromised by conducting discovery in a cooperative manner," creating a foundation for a cooperative process. "The key is that it sets out that noncooperation is sanctionable," says Steven Teppler with Edelson McGuire, who is a member of the committee and had several cases that were part of the project. "How can you do discovery if the other side won’t? But if it looks like it will be a fair process, then it makes parties less obstinate."

Read more here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Federal Officials Continue AT&T iPad Investigation

A division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that specializes in computer crimes has taken over an investigation into an AT&T security loophole that allowed a self-described security group to reach some iPad 3G users’ personal e-mail addresses and device identification numbers.

Andrew Auernheimer, known online as Weev, who is a spokesman for the group, Goatse Security, was arrested this week on drug-related charges after F.B.I. agents obtained a search warrant and entered his home. Andrew Auernheimer, known online as Weev, was released from a detention center on Thursday.

Bryan Travers, a special agent with the F.B.I. office in Newark, would not discuss details of the search warrant. He said the warrant was sealed because the investigation was continuing.

Mr. Auernheimer was arraigned Wednesday in a court in Washington County, Ark., where he was charged with one misdemeanor and three felony charges of possession of a controlled substance.

He was released on $3,100 bail on Thursday morning, with court dates set for July and August. It is unclear if he will be charged with any crime in connection with the AT&T security breach.

Read more here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Getting Ediscovery to Work for You

Locating, securing and producing all the electronically stored information required in the discovery phase of civil litigation can be very time consuming and extremely expensive. However, failure to produce the required information in a timely fashion can lead to fines running into millions of dollars, thanks to revisions to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that came into effect in December 2006.

Many companies still deal with e-discovery obligations by outsourcing the process to external specialists, who may charge between $250 and $1,400 per gigabyte to sift through corporate data, collect what is relevant, and get it in to a form that can be submitted to lawyers for review. In the past five years, an increasing number of companies have begun treating e-discovery as a routine business process that can be performed in-house. Many of these companies use e-discovery software to help carry out this business process more efficiently.

E-discovery software is designed to enable the efficient undertaking of various stages of the e-discovery process defined in the Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRF), which establishes guidelines for e-discovery. These stages include the identification, preservation, collection, processing, review and analysis of corporate information. Research house Gartner said e-discovery solutions may cost more than $500,000, but in some organizations they can pay for themselves in as little as three months or after a single big law case. That's because the cost of software can be offset against fees that would otherwise be paid to outside service providers to process data for discovery and against the reduction in legal fees charged by outside attorneys reviewing large amounts of written electronic material. Little wonder the market for e-discovery software is expected to grow more than 20 percent per year for the next three years, according to Gartner estimates.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Don't Lose Sleep over U.S. e-Discovery Nightmares

E-discovery has been a hot topic ever since changes made to the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure broadened the scope of electronic evidence back in 2006.

But Canadian IT departments shouldn't lose sleep over e-discovery nightmares taking place in the U.S., according to one lawyer with experience practising on both sides of the border.

"The sky is not falling, No. 1," said Stephen Maddex, associate in the Commercial Litigation Group at Lang Michener LLP in Ottawa, who is a member of the bar in Ontario and Texas.

"No. 2, organization is key," he said. "The more businesses do get organized, the simpler it all becomes."

Broadly speaking, there are two major differences between general Canadian practice and the U.S. federal rules, said Maddex.

One is the scope of discovery. "In the U.S., you can ask for pretty much anything, which is why e-mail has become such an important problem there," he said. But Canadians "don't have that same problem because the scope is narrower."

For example, in the U.S., a company may be asked to file through its entire database and produce everything it has, which could be billions of e-mail messages, he said. "The cost to go through that and figure out what you need and what you don't need to provide is extremely expensive," he said.

Read more here and be sure to check out and subscribe to our free weekly newsletter, The Round Up, for more news and upcoming events.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

'Pension Committee' Clarifies E-Discovery Requirements

In a bombshell opinion and order issued just weeks ago by U.S. Southern District of New York Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, litigants and lawyers have been admonished (again) about their discovery obligations, particularly, to preserve, collect and produce electronic documents, records and data in their possession, custody, or control. Scheindlin, one of the foremost experts on the law of electronic discovery, was the author of the Zubulake line of decisions that many say ushered in a new era of robust electronic discovery. Now, her new blockbuster is the Pension Committee decision,[FOOTNOTE 1] which carries the picturesque title, "'Zubulake' Revisited: Six Years Later." Pension Committee promises to be a guide and oft-cited framework for complying with electronic discovery requirements.

Since the new decision copiously analyzes a series of discovery failures that led to sanctions against numerous plaintiff-companies, it is a practical roadmap on how real people and real attorneys may be confronted by real challenges regarding compliance only to wind up making judgments that come back to haunt them.

Pension Committee also is a kind of "how-to" manual setting forth key principles relating to issuing, monitoring, and enforcing litigation holds, discharging preservation and search techniques, and documenting appropriate behind-the-scenes conduct so that the responding party can withstand accusations of insufficient disclosure by the adversary. Then, too, there is advice regarding sanctions, what needs to be proved and by whom, the criteria of "relevance" and "prejudice," the legal behavior standards of negligence, gross negligence and willfulness, available remedies and, even, the text of an actual spoliation instruction.

Read more here

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Data Mining Project Benefits Investigators, Scares Privacy Experts

At any one time, some 750,000 pedophiles are prowling the Internet, the United Nations says. They might be lurking in chat rooms. Or swapping images of adults having sex with kids.

It's a virtual epidemic of child pornography, and to fight it, law enforcement officers from all over are converging on a cavernous building in South Florida. Here they have access to the most advanced technology for finding pedophiles.

But this isn't run by any government agency. The desks, computers, technology — all are provided free by a former drug smuggler named Hank Asher.

Called a "mad scientist'' by one employee, Asher has made a fortune collecting public records — deeds, lawsuits, voter registrations — and combining them into databases that can be invaluable in locating people. Plug a name into Accurint, Asher's best-known product, and you'll see addresses, possible relatives, licenses held.

It was Asher's technology that helped police find the Washington, D.C., snipers.

Now he is building a super computer and a database "a thousand times more powerful" than anything he has developed yet.

It's a project that worries privacy-rights advocates and other critics. They wonder if Asher's real reason for donating some of his technology to government agencies is to get access to confidential data like firearms registries, tax information, even health records — information that could be a boon to businesses and an unprecedented intrusion into the lives of millions of Americans.

Read more here

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cell Phone Forensic Technology

Justin Ogden is using cell phone forensics to help the country locate missing people and aircraft.

He's only 28 years old and a Captain with the Air Force's auxiliary Civil Air Patrol or CAP.

"Try and take the technical information provided by the cellular providers and define search areas based on that information," Ogden said.

Pretty much everyone these days has a cell phone. If it's on and you find yourself lost in the middle of no where, Ogden says he should be able to find you.

He uses cell phone towers, text messages, and maps to help locate people. That information helps Ogden, who is the only person in America using this type of technology to pinpoint locations within one square mile to a few hundred miles.

Ogden was tapped by the Air Force's Rescue Coordination Center which is based at Tyndall Air Force Base, to help assist them with their search efforts.

Read more here

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Survey Finds 73 Percent of Enterprises Plan to Bring E-Discovery In-House in Response to Rise in E-Discovery Requests

Clearwell Systems, Inc., a leader in intelligent e-discovery, today announced findings from a survey conducted in partnership with analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). The survey, titled "Trends in Electronic Discovery: A Market Perspective" quantifies both the rise in e-discovery and litigation over the past year. Additionally, the survey findings reinforce the need for increased enterprise readiness to manage the expected growth in volume of cases in 2010.

It has been three years since the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended with provisions centered on discovery and management of electronically stored information (ESI). In the same timeframe, the macroeconomic climate went from explosive growth to recession, forcing organizations to cut costs as quickly as possible. As companies continue to operate in cost containment or reduction mode, they are changing the way they conduct e-discovery, moving away from a primarily outsourced approach to bringing core elements of e-discovery in-house. The intersection of these two industry trends led ESG and Clearwell to survey over 100 Fortune 2000 enterprises and government agencies.

Read more here

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Computer Forensics Investigator Biography - Melanie Hampton

I recover digital data from crime scenes by analyzing cell phones, desktop and laptop computers, digital cameras, hard drives, CD-ROMs and other digital devices. This data helps incriminate people who are involved with child pornography, financial crimes, homicides, drug deals and other offenses.
Unfortunately, child pornography has exploded with the use of digital cameras and file sharing, and that is what I spend a large amount of my time investigating. There are huge amounts of photos and other digital data to process involving child pornography.

Read more here.
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

FBI Computer Forensics Labs Make a Digital Difference

A domestic terrorist. A kidnapper. A corrupt politician. An identity thief.

These are just of a few of those brought to justice with the help of the FBI's Regional Computer Forensics Laboratories (RCFLs), according to the latest RCFL annual report now available online.

Read more here.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Patch the Cracks of ESI Search

Electronically stored information may be easier to search than manually searching the same amount of information. However, there are several "leaks" in this digital information search that can be costly to fix. Being aware of where information is not being found is the first step of limiting these search flaws.

Read more about the "leaks" in ESI search here.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Pivotal Role Of Computer Forensics In Today’s Litigation

Electronically stored information (ESI) continues to take center stage in all types of litigation, from bankruptcy to tort. Author Keenen Milner discusses the critical role computer forensics experts play in collecting and preserving digital evidence.

Over the past decade or so, attorneys have come to realize that some of the most valuable evidence is found not in filing cabinets but on computers and servers. The 2006 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which expressly made ESI subject to discovery, also reflect the growing role of digital data.

Read more here.
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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Porn pervasive in workplace

Sharon Nelson, president of Sensei Enterprises, a Virginia-based computer forensics company said that 26 percent of companies surveyed in the first half of 2009 have fired employees for violating e-mail policies. More than 26 percent have sacked employees for violation of Internet policies.

Read more here.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

IT Expert's Passion for Computer Forensics

A former military policeman and IT security expert at Northern Rock is combining his talents in a data investigations business.

Andrew Maddison, who worked at Northern Rock for eight years as head of the technical security team, has launched Orbital Forensics to work with businesses and the legal profession to investigate computer and mobile phone fraud and misuse.

Read more here.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Computer Attacks May Not Be From Noth Korea

Evidence has surfaced that the denial-of-service attacks that crippled dozens of U.S. and South Korean web sites last week may not have been perpetrated by North Korea, as widely surmised.

Bkis Security has just disclosed analysis showing that 166,908 botted PCs from 74 countries were used in the attacks. Commands were routed through eight control servers, tied into a master server located in the United Kingdom and running the Windows Server 2003 operating system, says Bkis research director Nguyen Minh Duc.

Read more here.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Michael Jackson's Death Used To Spread Virus

The world's obsession with superstar Michael Jackson's sudden death is being exploited by a range of digital crooks who - in at least one instance - are using it to infect computers with a virus that can steal bank-account numbers and passwords.

According to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Spam Data Mine, cybercriminals are embedding the data- stealing virus in an e-mail "that claims to link you to a website that will reveal Michael Jackson's killer".

Read more here.

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