Category Archives: LitigationSupport

Those Pesky Email Signatures

Spotted a mention over on eDiscovery Daily about an Above the Law article wherein they take a good look at all of the wasted space taken up by the millions of emails by adding a signature file, specifically the “please consider the environment” line.

In essence, adding that extra text probably uses more energy to store, copy, etc. the larger emails than is probably saved by the number of people who have ever actually stopped to consider the environment before printing an email.

The eDiscovery Daily article goes on to talk about the extra time and cost of dealing with that extra text in the eDiscovery process.

These email signatures and disclaimers also affect eDiscovery costs, both in terms of extra data to process and also host.  They can also lead to false hits when searching text and affect conceptual clustering or predictive coding of documents (which are based on text content of the documents) unless steps are taken to remove those from indices and ignore the text when performing those processes.  All of which can lead to extra work and extra cost.

This I have seen first hand. Once upon a time, I received the agreed upon keyword list for a case involving an environmental permit. Applying the keyword “environment” to the email collected resulted in EVERY SINGLE EMAIL being a hit, because they all ended with “please consider the environment before printing this email”. Cue the extra time and cost.

 

Tags:

ILTA According to Twitter

I was not able to attend this years ILTA conference, but thanks to the power of Twitter, I was able to follow along in my own, small, way. No, it’s not the same as being there, but seeing some of the information being presented, and the ideas flowing around social media definitely gave me some things to think about.

Natalie Alesi was kind enough to tweet out hashtag reports and transcripts throughout the conference, so if you want to see what was being talked about, I’d take a look at these while they are available!

Day 1 – https://www.hashtracking.com/reports/ilta2013/ilta14/Day1ILTA

Day 2 – https://www.hashtracking.com/reports/ilta2013/ilta14/Day2

Day 3 – https://www.hashtracking.com/reports/ilta2013/ilta14/Day3

Day 4 – https://www.hashtracking.com/reports/ilta2013/ilta14/Day4

Tags:

Ralph Losey Says Firms Should Get Out of Lit Support Business

Over the weekend Ralph posted a video on his blog, and had some rather strong opinions about what his firm is doing, and what firms should be doing in general.

I no longer have to supervise a litigation support department. Instead I manage a relationship with a vendor. It is much more pleasant, believe me. When not working on projects and serving clients, I focus my internal e-discovery firm management time on the training and education of my firm’s lawyers and paralegals. IMO this is the way it should be. Law firms should stick to their core competency, practicing law and teaching law, and should not try to run little vendor corps in their midst.

Now I don’t work in a law firm, and haven’t for a couple of years now, so I’m not the best person to comment on what Ralph has to say here. The one thing I will say, is this. Ralph’s experience with his firm and the lawyers therein, should not be taken as representative of what other firms would experience. After all, simply by having Ralph as the partner in charge of eDiscovery, they alter the reality of their situation in a way that no other firm could.

So for those of you who do work in firms or work for vendors who work directly with firms. what do you have to say about this? Should law firms focus on their core competency and get away from having in house litigation support? What about other areas, IT, Marketing, HR, etc.? Should those all be outsourced too?

Tags: ,

TrueCrypt Mystery

If you’re not familiar with TrueCrypt, it a free utility that you can use to encrypt your data. I’ve used it for years, lots of people in the eDiscovery world have used it for years, among many other tech professionals, and I would imagine they continue to use it.

Given the large user base, and the nature of the tool to begin with, the current state of affairs is a huge concern. As ArsTechnica explains:

One of the official webpages for the widely used TrueCrypt encryption program says that development has abruptly ended and warns users of the decade-old tool that it isn’t safe to use.

“WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues,” text in red at the top of TrueCrypt page on SourceForge states. The page continues: “This page exists only to help migrate existing data encrypted by TrueCrypt. The development of TrueCrypt was ended in 5/2014 after Microsoft terminated support of Windows XP. Windows 8/7/Vista and later offer integrated support for encrypted disks and virtual disk images. Such integrated support is also available on other platforms (click here for more information). You should migrate any data encrypted by TrueCrypt to encrypted disks or virtual disk images supported on your platform.”

So has the site been hacked? Is this a hoax? Are they really suggesting that everyone should stop using their software with no further comment or explanation? Who knows? It certainly bears watching for those of us who’ve been using it!

Tags: , ,

LegalTech and Interviews

Even though I didn’t get to attend LegalTech, I always look forward to the wrap up posts and interviews that get posted in the days following the event.

This evening, as I was catching up on my blog reading, I came across a couple of my favorite thought leaders being interviewed.

First, Chris Dale had a short video chat with Craig Ball about eDiscovery rock starts and eDiscovery skills.

Secondly, an audio interview with Brett Burney about current trends in the eDiscovery world.

Check ‘em out!

Tags: ,

Convenience Always Trumps Security

Even when people are fully aware of the dangers of using unapproved cloud services and personal email accounts, people still use ‘em.

And it gets worse! They’re more likely to email work documents to their personal accounts, move documents via cloud apps that IT doesn’t know they have, and lose devices that would give whoever found them unrestricted access to company data. Basically, in every way that Softchoice measured, the youngest workers were the most likely to lose data or leave themselves open to hacking.

millennials-data-oops

But – here’s the kicker — they’re also the most informed about the risks. Younger workers were also the most likely to say that their company has a clear policy on the downloading of cloud apps; that their IT departments have communicated about the risks of cloud apps; and that their workplace has a clear policy on how to protect information.

So the theory that if we simply educated and trained people to take security seriously the problem would be a long way towards solved, appears to be just flat out false. They know the risks, they know they aren’t supposed to do these things, but for the sake of easy access to work information, they do it anyway.

I honestly don’t know that we can train for security. Even when a company has been involved in litigation, and had to review employees personal devices for relevant information, those employees still turn around and do the same thing. Personally, that’s the reason I don’t mix my personal and business information, but I work remotely and have access to cloud based tools, if I didn’t, I might be tempted, and I say that as someone who lives and breaths e-discovery. If anyone should fear the mingling of personal and work data, it should be me, and I still wouldn’t do it.

No, the only real solution is providing convenient, yet secure, tools at the Enterprise level. Obviously, we’re not there yet.

Tags:

My Latest on eDiscovery Insight – Working with DAT Files

It’s up over on the AccessData blog. It’s part of a “Tips from the Trainers” series, and is all about working with Concordance DAT files in Summation 5.0 now that we can load those files directly without the need to convert them.

Hope you find it useful!

Tags: , , ,

Could Facebook Be Creating a Facial Recognition Tool to be Used by the Government

NPR has a story this morning talking about Facebook’s facial recognition tools and the potential risk to our privacy that comes along with it.

One of the things I like about this story is the explanation of modeling, and how without a model, facial scanning doesn’t really work. It’s comparable to the conversations I’ve had about using eDiscovery software to do Optical Character Recognition. Typically, when I explain that running OCR on handwriting is not really going to be useful. People want to know why, when they “write” on their tablet device, it can translate that into text, but OCR software cannot. It’s because you’ve already modeled what your individual handwriting looks like for the tablet device. It is not trying to identify some random person’s handwriting. If I can, I’ll also drive home that point by picking up their tablet device and show them how terribly it recognizes my handwriting, because that’s not the model it is comparing from.

Facial recognition, as of right now, works very similarly. It’s great when you know who you are looking for, but horrible at identifying a random person, because we don’t have a full model of photos for that person for the software to compare. But, along comes Facebook with their photo tagging feature, and suddenly, is there the possibility of getting a model based on a large number of different photos from your FB profile, to be shared with law enforcement? Yes, there is that possibility. But, if I were in law enforcement, while I might be interested in having access to FB’s photo modeling, I’d also have to be somewhat wary of using it. It relies on Facebook users to actually tag photos of the actual people in the photo, or someone to go through that multitude of photos to correct for all of those cases where people have posted a picture of a baby, and tagged the parents, or of a pet, and tagged the owner, and so on and so on. Of course, we know those things happen, so the risk here is not so much that law enforcement would use FB photos and compare them to surveillance video in order to capture wrongdoers. The real risk is the chance that the inaccurate models will cause mistaken identifications, and lead to harassment and investigation into completely innocent people.

That’s also the risk of all government surveillance programs. When the NSA gathers as much data as Edward Snowden claims that they have, the risk is not that they are reading your emails. It’s almost impossible to imagine that someone is sitting and looking at the billions of messages and phone records they are collecting. No, it’s the collection and storage of that data, because if and when you are identified as a suspect, based on some random algorithm based on the “big data” collection they have, they will now have all of that information and start drawing conclusions based on things you’ve said in emails, or who you’ve talked to on the phone. They’ll start investigating the people you communicate with, talking to the people you work with, and so on.

When you have that much data it’s useless until you know what you’re looking for, (If you work with eDiscovery, you know this fact well), but once you know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to find data that conforms to your theory if you have enough of it, even if your theory is completely wrong.

When you are actually innocent, that kind of investigation doesn’t go away in terms of how people think about you. False accusations ruin lives. With that much data about you living in one place, the potential for this to happen to you, rises.

In the end, I’m not worried about Facebook recognizing my face, because if it gets it wrong, it’s mostly just funny and correctable. But I am definitely concerned about the government using that same technology, because when they get it wrong, I can’t correct it, and it is most definitely not funny.

Tags: , ,

ILTA Recorded Sessions

Back when I used to attend ILTA as a member, I always struggled to figure out what sessions to go to an what one’s I would miss. It was often a tough choice. Now, as someone working for a vendor, there are typically only one or two sessions I even manage to find the time to get to

That’s why I’m making a note here for myself, and others, to take a quick look at the recorded sessions page. It’s not the same as being there for the session as it happens, but when you can’t be there getting the information is better than nothing!

Tags:

Will I See You at #ILTA13?

Yes it’s true, after last year’s new experience of attending the annual ILTA Conference as a vendor as opposed to an attendee, I’ll be repeating that this year. I expect it to be similar to last year, there won’t be as many opportunities to socialize with my old contacts and attendees, because I’ll be trying to support AccessData’s efforts more than attend sessions. Still, I hope some of you who I haven’t had the chance to see since last year will take a moment to stop by and say hello! I will definitely be at our booth on Monday evening Aug 19th, for the opening of the vendor hall, and should be spending much of my time in our demo room (Messina) on Tuesday and Wednesday.

So come on by and catch up, ok? And if you want a demo of Summation 5.0 or AD eDiscovery 5.0, I’ll be glad to do that for you too, but I won’t force it on you. Promise… ;-)

Of course, if you want to try and meetup elsewhere let me know and I’ll get you a way to get in touch with me at the show.

Tags: , , ,