The digital age has rapidly shaped how we communicate and function as humans, whether it be with the iPhone, a digital medical device or a virtual gathering site such as Facebook. Most of these advancements have been positive, however, it has also brought an ominous shadow behind us. eDiscovery is now a very essential tool in civil and criminal cases across the country, so it is important to understand how eDiscovery and digital privacy communicates. For a detailed explanation about eDiscovery and its process, click here.
eDiscovery is unique as it joins the judicial world with the technological one. In 2018, governments globally are trying to compete with the evolution of the digital world and define individual privacy. In the United States, there is no overarching law regarding personal data, but the right to privacy is a common law that is incorporated elsewhere and bound through several pieces of legislation. To name a few:
- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
- Right to Financial Privacy Act (RFPA)
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Health Information Technology for Economic & Clinical Health (HITECH) Act
- Children’s Online Protection Act (COPA)
- State Breach Notification Laws
- State Data Transfer Laws
These legislatures are in place to protect the privacy of individuals on a basic level and in their everyday lives. However, when a court case arises that requires digital evidence there are compliance regulations for these. Both eDiscovery and digital privacy can be perplexing, so it can get rather gray on how these procedures comply with eDiscovery.
This can be a very complex topic to cover and grasp, so we recommend talking to an eDiscovery specialist and/or a lawyer if you would like details on the constitutional aspects of your case.
eDiscovery is the search, collection and analyzation of digital information on an individual in response to or for the purpose of being used in court (as evidence).
Every person that uses electronic devices or accesses the internet has a digital record. The nature of how these devices and/or programs process is excellent for investigative needs. Digital records usually have a time stamp and geographical and recipient information (to name a few) and they are near impossible to destroy. Not to mention, thousands of photos are taken of the internet per second.
Electronically stored data can be that broad, but as specific as voicemails, images, social media, emails and entire databases. so what exactly could be used in eDiscovery? Well, anything in those categories – from spreadsheets, calendars and even your virus protection.
Think about it: An entire legal case can be sitting on what the digital record said.
So how does eDiscovery’s process work? If you are in a legal battle and either party would like to use electronic information as evidence, eDiscovery will be necessary. The best way to execute this is by using a digital forensics expert. Guardian has extensive experience in building successful cases in digital forensics, eDiscovery and with law enforcement in general. Our team works to protect the integrity of the information until it is used in court. These experts are educated on the process necessary to analyze, recover and save the information in accordance with the rules to submit evidence to the court.
eDiscovery itself, however, is not merely attached to merely technology, it connects political, security, personal and constitutional pieces. Click here to get more detailed information on this collaborative effort and your digital privacy rights.
Corporate Fraud: Activities undertaken by an individual or company that are done in a dishonest or illegal manner, and are designed to give an advantage to the perpetrating individual or company.
A generation ago, company plans and assets were tangible. Filing cabinets could be found in many an office, overflowing with paper spreadsheets and ledger books full of information that made the business succeed or fail.
Today, computers, laptops, tablets, servers and cloud storage have become the repositories of company secrets and success. But like the early days of business, there have always been individuals within the company willing to cheat, steal and misrepresent to make themselves or their business come out on top.
Instead of white out and erasers used to change information on paper, files are deleted, digital spreadsheets are illegally altered and corporate fraud has become a digital battleground.
Many times, the investigation starts with a whistleblower sending an email or a phone call. Then the big guns are sent in. A Computer forensics investigator or team of investigators come in and start digging into the digital information.
Emails will be searched, digital activities mapped, information changes noted and when employees log on and off will be noted. All this data isn’t just gathered, it is organized and examined closely. Activity patterns are created and a digital footprint starts to appear for the person(s) being investigated.
Investigations don’t always need a whistleblower to start things off. Often, if upper management is suspicious of illicit activities or even quiet computer crime, a digital forensics team will be called in to investigate.
Once the information is gathered, examined and the guilty parties found, then the case can be created. Most digital forensic investigators, like the pro’s at Guardian Forensics, will give expert testimony supporting the evidence that has been found.
Litigation should be decisive with the evidence and the expert witnesses who found it testifying.
As long as there is something to be gained through fraud, there will continue to be dishonest business actions. With the help of the right computer forensic investigators, the truth will be found and the guilty punished.