Electronic Data Discovery – defining its different aspects

Accumulating evidence for a civil or criminal lawsuit utilizes various methods. One such method used is electronic data discovery (EDD), also referred to as e-discovery. It is considered to be the best way to obtain electronic data. The aim is to seek, locate, secure and search all e-data available. The resultant analysis could then be used as evidence to support (or refute) a legal dispute.

The process may involve examination of the electronic data present in a single computer or the data present in a whole network. It could be carried on online as well as offline. It may also utilize methods of hacking, but only if it is approved by the government or the legal authorities.

Whatever the means used, the goal remains the same – discovery of data that could prove (or refute) a legal claim. What exactly qualifies as electronic evidence? All types of electronic information could be used as evidence in a legal suit. This may include, but is not limited to, texts, images, spreadsheets, databases, computer programs, video and audio files, websites, and so on.

The chief electronic evidence is mostly available from emails. While hard copy correspondences tend to be more cautiously written, an email may divulge more regarding the case. And that is not all. Electronic discovery services also examine viruses, spyware, malware, and such others as and when necessary for the investigation.

A specialized form of this process is computer forensics. Also known as cyberforensics, this involves examination and analysis of the data present on the hard drive of a particular computer. But the investigation is not done on the data present directly. A copy of the hard drive is made and the examination is done on it while the computer is kept in its original condition under tight security.

The popularity of electronic data discovery services is because of two major reasons, as discussed below:

Ease in investigation – It is easy to conduct an investigation on the electronic data available but the task becomes arduous if it involves hard copy. Imagine how much time and labor would be necessary to examine all the data present on your computer if it was on paper and would have to be done manually.

Difficult to destroy – The information present on paper could be easily destroyed. All that needs to be done is destroy the paper in some way or the other. But this won’t be so with electronic data. It is very difficult to destroy this information, especially if it is part of a network. There are means and methods to retrieve it.

Approximately 90% of documents used in today’s world are electronic in nature. This is proof enough of the growing demand for e-discovery services. And when it comes to choosing a service provider it is wise to opt for the best.