Internet Newsletter for Lawyers
The two talks were as follows:
The meeting presented two complementary views of the topic. In this brief report, I am covering just some of the points they made.
Depending on the version of Microsoft Word used and how it has been set up, the following may well be available for scrutiny:
If receiving a document, there are issues of legal privilege which may mean that any exciting discoveries cannot in fact be used in court. Law Society Guidance says that you should send it back in these circumstances. The Computer Misuse Act 1990 has wording intended to refer to hackers but which might apply to someone extracting metadata.
Apparently, there are no English authorities relating to metadata at the moment (apart from some on metatags in web pages, which is really a different topic).
Email Nick Gardner.
All this leads to a massive quantity of data which might need to be considered and sorted through, in a disclosure.
For example, 1 million unsorted documents in a shipping container would take weeks to check and sort through - with the right computer software in can take just minutes.
Email is often used informally and as such is likely to lead to careless talk. One email can make or break a case, as was shown with the Microsoft anti-trust case where an email essentially said “Let’s use Internet Explorer’s integration with Windows to overtake Netscape”.
Email can be centralised, on the firm’s network, kept locally on individual’s PC (possibly at home or on a notebook computer or PDA) or even retained on internet mail services like Yahoo and Hotmail.
Corporate email is almost impossible for the employee to destroy, since there will be multiple copies in the firm’s own back-up system as well as copies on the ISP’s system, the recipient’s ISP’s system and the recipient’s own network.
A typical disclosure process is:
The programs for this purpose can filter for relevance, sort by any desired field, classify either for inclusion or exclusion, and create the disclosure list.
Email Adrian Palmer.
(Kroll Ontrack provides consultancy in disclosure and computer forensics as well as providing software for these types of tasks).
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