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Text Messaging Data in eDiscovery

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Text messages have been in the news a lot recently from deleted text messages in the January 6th hearings to the inadvertent release of text messages by Alex Jones' attorneys during his trial. Texting has become a way of life for most Americans in today's world as over 1/3 would rather text than talk on the phone.   In 2015, research showed that 80% of professionals conducted business communications through texts. Text messages can become relevant evidence to be retrieved, preserved and searched although it isn't always an easy task.   Since December 2006, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure has demanded the “preservation and disclosure of electronically stored evidence.” Digital communications such as emails and text messages fall squarely under this remit, and as such, enterprises are obligated to keep accurate and exhaustive records. When it comes to eDiscovery, texts on mobile devices present two unique challenges. First, it's easy for users to delete text message

Don't Forget These Sources of eDiscovery

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As you can imagine, electronic data can be found in many different ways and many different sources.  Back in the old days, you only had to deal with paper but today data can be found in places you wouldn't normally think of.  Obviously, you can find data in active sources such as computer hard drives, networks, emails and other places which are easily accessible.  What about other sources? Here are a few other places you can possibly find eDiscovery (from www.exterro.com): Cloud Storage Data created and stored on cloud servers, ranging from software and applications such as Google Drive and social media accounts, have grown exponentially in the past several years. Cloud providers have their own policies for accessing data, but e-discovery technology solutions have the ability to integrate with many of the most popular cloud services, making collection easier than even three years ago. Mobile Devices Collecting data from mobile devices often requires sophisticated tools and highly s

Be Ready with ReadySuite

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I have been involved in eDiscovery for the past 10-15 years and one of the more challenging issues I have experienced in working with data is troubleshooting and resolving issues with load files such as dat and opt.  It isn't always the easiest task.  It is one of those where you close the door to your office and put your phone on do-not-disturb.  I have painstakingly either used Notepad ++ or Microsoft Excel to work with errant load files.   Over the past year I have become familiar with an amazing eDiscovery tool called ReadySuite. ReadySuite was developed by Compiled (formerly known as Compiled Services which was founded by Justin Blessing in 2008) The software can handle everything you need with load files.  You can view, convert, edit, manipulate, validate load files and all industry standard load files are supported.  You can also perform quality control by validating document volumes and production sets.  There are so many other things you can do with ReadySuite but I can te

eDiscovery Training = Good Investment

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There was a popular movie in the 1980s about a rag-tag group of recruits in the Army who trained themselves.  At the graduation ceremony, everyone watched in horror with the very unorthodox way they entered the parade ground.  The commanding officer asked what kind of training they had, and their leader barked out:  "Barrrrrrrmy training sir!" If you are going to be proficient with eDiscovery tools such as processing or database platforms, you will need to have good training.   I specify "good" training because training is EXTREMELY important.  Over the years I have attended and conducted training for various litigation support functions.  I cannot emphasize enough on how important training is for an organization. Here are some tips for eDiscovery training for your organization: Pick the right people to train .   Not everyone has the aptitude for picking up eDiscovery processing and management tools.  Don't just throw people into training.  Just as a coach must

The (Relativity) Search Begins - Key Word Searching

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My first go-to method of searching when I am looking for something in a Relativity database is using the keyword search.  Keyword search (or SQL index search) is Relativity's default search engine. You can use a keyword search to query a full text index. The long text and fixed-length text fields included in this index vary by workspace.  Basically, you can make your searches as easy or as complex as you want.   The keyword search bar is pretty easy to locate.     You can start by entering a word you want to find: In this example, I am looking for the word "gas".  I type the word in my search bar and click on the search button. The search will return with the number of documents where the keyword appears in your database: You can use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) in keyword searches, as well as quotation marks for exact matches, asterisks (*) for wildcards, and other features. However, if you perform a keyword search with multiple terms, documents where those terms exi

The (Relativity) Search Begins - Filtering

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If you have had your data processed and loaded into Relativity, the next thing you will want to do is to search the data.  What good does it do to put your data into a database if you can't find what you need when you need it? Let's take a look at some of the basic searches to get you started. Relativity gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to searching.  You might want to start by using filters.  It's easy and something you can do right out of the box. Filters You can use filters to limit the documents which appear in your database.  To activate your filter, click on the "funnel" icon at the top of your document list.   This activates each column in your document list view. Now select the column you wish to filter on: Only check what you want to see.  In this example, I only want to see the documents relating to the Chris Germany .  When your selection is checked, click Apply . The documents relating to your selection will appear. Easy right?  Filtering i

AirTag - You're It!

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There have been some news items lately regarding people using things called "AirTags" to stalk people.  AirTags are Apple devices you can attach to keys or other items and connect to your iPhone using the Find My app to be able to trace the location of the items with the AirTag. Are there any eDiscovery issues regarding this new tracking device? AirTags emit a Bluetooth beacon every few minutes via radio frequencies.  That beacon reports the last location of the phone which pinged it.  Although the AirTags aren't GPS trackers on their own, they can be picked up by other Apple gadgets.  Those devices then ping the location of the AirTag.  The AirTag itself doesn't store the information but in conjunction with any location data or history is stored on the iPhone. It is believed that only the user can see where your AirTag is located.  Devices that relay the location of your AirTag also stay anonymous and that location data is encrypted.  Even Apple has no idea of the lo

Why-am-I-getting-error-that-file-name-is-too-long?

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I have less hair today because of a dash. Yes, a dash in a filename turned an easy processing job into one that took much longer than necessary caused by a problem with a dash in a filename. This issue reminded me of how crucial it is to name a file correctly.  In my previous life, investigators would bring me data copy from their external drive when I would often encounter the dreaded "file names too long" error message. Both Microsoft and Apple impose limitations on file name length.  This limit includes not only the file name but also the entire document path.   The reason for this error - especially with Windows-based systems is that there is a limitation of 256 characters in a filename.  There are also some issues with using specific characters.  Two things to keep in mind when you are naming your native files - try to avoid using a period "." and also the dash "-".   Using a period in your filename could be confusing because this is generally the del

Tell It to the Judge: Explaining eDiscovery Issues to the Judge

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Nothing strikes fear into the heart of someone than when you have to appear in court and explain technical issues to the judge.   Over the course of my 30+ years in litigation support, I have been commended by judges but also yelled at and asked to explain technical issues.   I will tell you there is a new level of anxiety when you have to sit in the witness stand or stand before the bench to address the judge. Don't reach for the Xanax yet.   With proper planning and preparation, you can address the judge without a panic attack. First - and most important of all - get with the litigation technology specialist.  Don't just grab the IT guy or someone that knows something about computers.  You need someone that speaks the language who can adequately interpret it for the judge to understand. When you are notified that you will need to explain eDiscovery to the judge, the first thing you should do is outline every step you did in the process.  Make sure you create a good timeline b

Alexa, Do You Have eDiscovery?

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For Christmas, Santa brought me an Amazon Echo Show for my home office.  As you can imagine, I have been saying Alexa's name a lot as I get familiar with this new gadget in my life.  With these new digital personal assistants sitting in our homes, I wondered exactly what kind of data Alexa, Siri, Google and other similar devices might have inside of them. Most of these smart assistants collect the user's name, time zone, phone number, location and IP address but Alexa gathers more user data than the others.  Alexa also takes note of user's address, age, voice characteristics, payment information and personal interests.   from Reviews.org So if you are looking for electronically stored information in your case, you should also look for these devices sitting innocently on a table behind a plant.  We are already aware of pertinent data being available on computers, tablets and smartphones but now they could be sitting near us.  Most of these devices are constantly "listen