E-Discovery Firms Search Data for Evidence

February 28th, 2006

There is an article by Brian Bergstein at latimes.com, called “E-Discovery Firms Search Data for Evidence”.

Even just a few years ago, lawyers in corporate lawsuits sometimes agreed not to poke around in their opponents’ e-mails. Instead they’d confine themselves to paper memos and other documents on file as they pursued evidence.

Now, however, with so much work done via e-mail, instant messaging and other online platforms, “nothing’s in the file cabinets anymore,” said Michele Lange, staff attorney for legal technologies at Kroll Ontrack Inc.

Previously, electronic discovery was commonly performed by local computer experts “who played golf with law firm procurement officers”.

Now however, “the abundance of inexpensive data storage, high-profile lawsuits and laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that demand thorough corporate archiving — are making electronic discovery a lucrative and competitive slice of information technology.”

“Increasingly, e-discovery customers are not just law firms enmeshed in big corporate cases. More and more, companies are working proactively with e-discovery vendors, getting a handle on their data troves so they can meet regulatory requirements — or just in case they are sued”.

This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
FindProtected is a security program that allows you to search your network for password protected and evidential files. With FindProtected, it is way much easier to discover electronic evidence that may be used in litigation.

Australian government agencies “at risk”

February 28th, 2006

According to the article by Dahna McConnachie at ComputerWorld.com, Australian agencies fail to meet information security expectations.

The recent Australian National Audit Office report showed that the agencies “had not implemented effective policies, practices and processes to ensure their IT security policy met with government standards. Only two agencies could demonstrate suitable processes to assess system compliance with their IT security policy and government requirements as well as processes for managing exceptions and variations”.

Australian Computer Society Vice President Kumar Parakala said the audit findings are of concern. “IT security breaches can in fact have greater set-backs to organizations than physical security breaches.”

“Ideally, information security should be a part of our working lives, just like locking the front door when we leave the house in the morning. We should not be afraid, we should be aware of the consequences of our actions and inactions.”

The audit identified a number of opportunities for further improvement in agencies’ policies and procedures relating to IT security management practices, including:

  • “improving the content and processes for developing and maintaining IT security policy alignment with organizational risk management processes;
  • ensuring a regular process exists within the IT security control framework to identify gaps between an agency IT environment and Australian government expectations;
  • ensuring policies clearly identify the physical and environmental security controls and standards for managing IT equipment;
  • ensuring performance reporting of network security practice is designed to make sure that security controls are adequately addressing IT security risks;
  • and ensuring standards exist and are applied for the use of audit trails”.
  • This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
    FindProtected is an effective security program that allows you to search your network for password protected files. With FindProtected, you can properly identify protected files and relocate them if necessary.

    IM in the workplace

    February 28th, 2006

    A perfect article by Rob Nash appeared today on IT-observer.com, called “IM in the workplace – if you can’t beat it, manage it”.

    The article says that “according to analysts, corporate use of instant messaging (IM) is proliferating far beyond early expectations… A recent report by IDC found that there are more than 28 million business users worldwide using enterprise instant messaging products to send nearly one billion messages a day in 2005, this does not include the crossover of consumer instant messaging services used in businesses”.

    Instant messaging has become an important issue for IT managers. But although IM offers “genuine business benefits”, the use of instant messaging is associated with information security risks.

    All IM users have their own unique identity, anonymous to the IT manager. Individuals can also create IDs such as jobrown@acompany.com , even if the specific individual does not own these IDs and domains. Companies traditionally lack ownership and control of their corporate namespace on consumer IM networks, which can be used maliciously outside of corporate control, which could ultimately lead to vicarious liability cases or corporate sabotage.

    Besides, none of the four major public IM providers encrypt their network traffic, so attackers can highjack connections, in order to intercept company-confidential information.

    “IM is not an issue IT managers can afford to ignore. If you can’t beat it, manage it”. The article advises companies not to ban the use of IM in the workplace, but “embrace it”, move to enterprise IM systems, establish policies and take control.

    This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
    Prior to developing security policy, it is essential to analyze your computer or corporate network for valuable resources, sensitive information that should by no means be disclosed. FindProtected is an effective security program that allows you to search your network for password protected files. With FindProtected, you can properly identify protected files and relocate them if necessary.

    The Two Meanings of the Term “Electronic Discovery”

    February 21st, 2006

    Evan Schaeffer’s weblog has some interesting ideas about “The Two Distinct Meanings of the Term “Electronic Discovery”":

    Lawyers are frequently confused about the term “electronic discovery.” It’s no wonder, since lawyers and electronic-discovery vendors often use the terms in distinctly different ways.

    The terms “electronic discovery” can have either of the following two meanings:

    * A set of rules and procedures designed to locate admissible evidence from facts created and stored in electronic format. This set of rules and procedures almost always overlaps with the rules and procedures lawyers use to find information stored in paper format; and,

    * The process of uncovering, collecting, searching, and manipulating information created and stored in electronic format in attempt to locate admissible evidence.

    When litigators say “electronic discovery,” they are often giving the term the first meaning. Litigators are most often concerned about the procedures used to compel the other side to turn over electronic data in the first place. When electronic-discovery vendors say it, they are often using the second meaning. Electronic-discovery vendors are most often concerned about making use of electronic data once it’s already in the requesting lawyer’s possession.

    This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
    FindProtected is a security program that allows you to search your network for password protected and evidential files. With FindProtected, electronic evidence discovery is way much easier.

    Evidence discovery resources

    February 21st, 2006

    Denise Diaz posted a list of most popular resources dedicated to electronic evidence discovery.

    Electronic discovery is a corporate counsel’s worst nightmare. In simpler times, (what, two or three years ago?), you had to worry about paper, intranets, laptop and desktop computers, PDA’s, and servers. Today, you also have to worry about the blogs, the wiki’s, the podcasts, and all of those other cool things the Web 2.0 companies keep throwing at tech-hungry business executives.
    The demands of electronic discovery impose on you the burden of knowing more about IT than ever before…

    Apart from the resources mentioned in Denise Diaz’s article, I would also like to note the Sensei electronic evidence case search tool and the Preston Gates Electronic Discovery Case Database (also mentioned in the Dennis Kennedy Blog).

    This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
    FindProtected is a security program that allows you to search your network for password protected and evidential files. With FindProtected, electronic evidence discovery is way much easier.

    The ways of identity theft

    February 15th, 2006

    Fdbryant3 blog described the ways by which the identity thieves may acquire your personal information.

    Identity thieves may get sensitive information from businesses or other institutions by:

    *stealing records or information while they’re on the job

    *bribing an employee who has access to these records

    *hacking these records

    *conning information out of employees

    In order to get access to your financial information, identity thieves may do one of the following:

    • They may steal your mail, including bank and credit card statements, credit card offers, new checks, and tax information.

    • They may rummage through your trash, the trash of businesses, or public trash dumps in a practice known as “dumpster diving.”

    • They may get your credit reports by abusing their employer’s authorized access to them, or by posing as a landlord, employer, or someone else who may have a legal right to access your report.

    • They may steal your credit or debit card numbers by capturing the information in a data storage device in a practice known as “skimming.” They may swipe your card for an actual purchase, or attach the device to an ATM machine where you may enter or swipe your card.

    • They may steal your wallet or purse.

    • They may complete a “change of address form” to divert your mail to another location.

    • They may steal personal information they find in your home.

    • They may steal personal information from you through email or phone by posing as legitimate companies and claiming that you have a problem with your account. This practice is known as “phishing” online, or pretexting by phone.

    Most often, identity thieves acquire personal financial information directly from the victim’s PC.

    To prevent sensitive data leaks from your PC, make sure all of your financial files are identified and secured properly.

    This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
    FindProtected is an effective security program that allows you to search your network for password protected files. With FindProtected, you can properly identify protected files and relocate them if necessary.

    Can you catch identity theft?

    February 15th, 2006

    FightIdentityTheft.com described the ways to catch identity theft. If you’ve noticed anything of the following, it’s possible you’ve become a victim of identity theft:

    * You get a phone call or letter telling you that you have been approved or denied credit for accounts that you never requested.
    * You no longer receive your credit card statements, or you notice that some of your mail seems to be missing.
    * Your credit card statement includes charges for things you know you never bought.
    * A collection agency tells you they are collecting for an account you never opened.

    However, if nothing is obviously wrong, you can be sure you’ve not become a victim by checking your credit card report. When anyone applies for credit in your name, it will show up in your credit report. You just need to figure out where to get your credit report and how often to get it.

    “One of the best ways to catch identity theft is to regularly check your credit record”. According to the Federal Trade Commision, the average victim of identity theft is unaware of the problem for 12 months.

    Now that free credit reports are now available for every region of the U.S., you can check your credit card report more easily.

    Besides, you should take some simple precautions to prevent the incidents of identity theft: secure your passwords, wipe (rather than delete) critical documents you’re not going to make use of, and make sure all of your financial information stored on your PC is secured.

    This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
    FindProtected is an effective security program that allows you to search your network for password protected files. With FindProtected, you can properly identify protected files and relocate them if necessary.

    Increasingly, Internet’s Data Trail Leads to Court

    February 4th, 2006

    An article by SAUL HANSELL about the use of electronic evidence in court has been published in the New York Times today. The author writes, “just as technology is prompting Internet companies to collect more information and keep it longer than before, prosecutors and civil lawyers are more readily using that information”.

    “When it comes to e-mail and Internet service records, “the average citizen would be shocked to find out how adept your average law enforcement officer is at finding information,” said Paul Ohm, who recently left the Justice Department’s computer crime and intellectual property section.”

    The Justice Department has recently sent a request to four major Internet companies for data about their users’ search queries. “That case does not involve information that can be linked to individuals, but it has cast new light on what privacy, if any, Internet users can expect for the data trail they leave online.”

    The answer, in many cases, is clouded by ambiguities in the law that governs electronic communication. In many cases, the law requires law enforcement officials to meet a higher standard to read a person’s e-mail than to get copies of his financial or medical records.

    The 1996 Electronic Communications Privacy Act provides varying degrees of protection for online information. It generally requires a court order for investigators to read e-mail, “although the law is inconsistent on this”, treating unopened items differently from those previously read.

    Similarly to Internet data, electronic evidence stored on personal computers is also widely used in litigation. According to Randall S. Udelman’s article, “attorneys will increasingly need to focus their attention on electronic documents, memos and e-mail as a source of evidence to support their clients’ claims”.

    Digital evidence, if cost-effective and appropriate to obtain, may shed light on several important issues in litigation. For example, “electronic mail can possibly shed light on what company employees knew and did not know and whether a company made a decision to release a faulty product knowing its dangers.”

    Besides, “Should a company or a prospective defendant destroy evidence after receiving notice of a possible lawsuit, it faces separate penalties”.

    As the document storage techniques change in product liability litigation, attorneys seeking information will likely adapt as well in the appropriate circmstances. For instance, specific software solutions may be used to search the personal computer or corporate network for protected files that may be used in litigation.

    This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
    FindProtected is a security program that allows you to search your network for password protected and evidential files. With FindProtected, electronic evidence discovery is way much easier.

    Electronic discovery is replacing the paper kind

    February 4th, 2006

    Dale Gribble’s blog has some interesting ideas on electronic evidence: “the inexpensive abundance of data storage, high-profile lawsuits and strict new laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley that demand thorough corporate archiving – are making electronic discovery a lucrative and competitive slice of information technology”. According to Michael Clark (EDDix LLC.), the overall market is worth close to $2 billion and growing at about 35 percent a year. The number of companies offering computer-related evidence gathering appears to have doubled in the past two or three years.

    This surge has led Kroll Ontrack to quadruple the size of its data-crunching center in less than 18 months, from a half-petabyte of storage to two petabytes. That’s 2 million gigabytes. Consider that the Internet Archive, which aims to store almost every public Web page ever to appear, currently totals one petabyte.
    Rival e-discovery vendor Fios Inc. had 48 employees three years ago. This year, the Portland, Ore.-based company expects to employ more than 120, with revenue of $30 million – nearly double its 2004 figure.

    After all, 90 percent of U.S. corporations are engaged in some type of litigation, according to research by the law firm Fulbright & Jaworski LLP. The average company bigger than $1 billion is wrestling with 147 lawsuits.

    “The big risk for companies is too much data that there’s really no business need for, being kept in ways that if they had to go looking for it, would be uneconomic,” said e-discovery pioneer John Jessen, who founded Electronic Evidence Discovery Inc. in 1987.

    Dale Gribble’s blog also describes the most notable cases involving electronic discovery and “how the data mining companies work”.

    This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
    FindProtected is a security program that allows you to search your network for password protected and evidential files. With FindProtected, it is way much easier to discover electronic evidence that may be used in litigation.

    Electronic evidence in litigation

    January 28th, 2006

    An interesting article called “Uncertain & Unseen” by Todd Nunn is devoted to the handling of metadata in litigation. The author outlines pending amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and discusses their implications for handling metadata and other types of electronically stored information in litigation cases.

    The article defines metadata as “the information about, and contained within, a document. It describes how, when and by whom the document was created, accessed, modified, and formatted.”

    “Metadata is frequently not viewable in the document without special effort. It is easily altered and destroyed inadvertently, and much or all of it is not reproduced if the document is imaged or printed. It serves an important purpose in document management, but is typically not relevant in litigation. But, like other electronic information, if relevant, its destruction could subject a party to sanctions.”

    For instance, each MS Office document contains a large number of metadata fields, some of them may present crucial evidence. Therefore, electronic evidence discovery is an important issue that should be approached more broadly and comprehensively.

    This blog is run by the authors of FindProtected.
    FindProtected is a security program that allows you to search your network for password protected and evidential files. With FindProtected, you can easily identify protected files and relocate them if necessary.