Digital Evidence Preservation
Discovery Technician approaches digital evidence preservation as a strategy, not a form letter.
Digital evidence issues are a growing cause of court sanctions. Certain mistakes are common:
- Failure to preserve early enough. Legal practitioners often dismiss the fragile nature of digital evidence, and the unintended spoliation that occurs with the passage of time. Early preservation of digital evidence ensures that it will be there when it’s needed.
- Failure to demand a different process for digital evidence. Documents stored in a digital system are not the same as paper in a banker box. Treating digital evidence as if it were paper evidence almost always kills its value.
- Failure to narrow the scope, which can complicate the interaction with the other party, and overwhelm the court. “Any and all” is not a successful recipe for digital preservation.
- Failure to consider the peculiarities of specific types of systems and devices. Many different digital environments create many, varied challenges for forensically-sound evidence preservation.
- Failure to leverage digital discovery in the strategic process, and as a settlement tool.
- Reliance on IT departments to perform eDiscovery tasks. The majority of IT personnel are not trained in digital forensic processes. IT is a very different discipline, but eDiscovery is often viewed as task for “the computer guys,” and often to the detriment of the case.