The rising popularity of wearable internet devices has changed the way people access information on the web, and the process of eDiscovery is no exception to this impact. According to Futuresource Consulting, a market analysis firm, 12.4 million wearable devices were shipped in Q3 of 2014, which is an increase of 40% from Q3 2013. This means that a new wave of smart watches, fitness bands, Google glasses, chip implants, smart devices, and more have emerged that eDiscovery services can now use to possibly collect information. With so many devices now accessing the internet, legal professionals and eDiscovery companies may now face new barriers to collecting data relevant to the litigation process.
Barriers To eDiscovery
Collecting and protecting information for legal purposes is already a challenge, especially in large companies where it’s difficult to get employees to keep and share relevant information through the correct channels (e.g, using company email instead of private email). Wearable tech makes it so that it’s possible to record a person’s entire day, and courts are likely to deem this information discoverable.
However, matters become more complicated when you add syncing and cloud storage. If, for example, there is any discrepancy between files on a wearable device and the smartphone it’s synced to, it may indicate spoliation. Litigating lawyers must be savvy to these technical details when dealing with ESI collection.
In addition, the rapid advancement of internet technology has outpaced laws that haven’t kept up with these advancements. Legal issues such as the ownership and security of this information are considerations that must be dealt with. Michele C.S Lange, director of Kroll Ontrack, said in an interview with Inside Counsel that the eDiscovery process is always trying to catch up with new technology developments. “For example,” she said, “eDiscovery professionals are just now working to develop collection protocols for data contained in social media platforms like SnapChat.” When eDiscovery services finally catch up to devices from the IoT (Internet of Things), some issues to consider will include:
- Who is in control of the device?
- What format is the data being generated in?
- How can eDiscovery companies cost effectively gather and review data from these devices?
Solutions To eDiscovery In The Internet Of Things
In the Inside Counsel interview, Lange suggests that a “bring your own device” policy is essential for companies. She says, “What if an employee who is driving a company vehicle and is using a Google Glass causes a car accident? How should companies guarantee their intellectual property and trade secrets are safe when an employee can record everything he looks at through smartglasses? The potential implications of the proliferation of wearable technologies expand to every segment of litigation.”
She also emphasizes that putting in place an effective legal hold is critical to accurate and comprehensive collection. It’s also essential to make employees aware of the implications of gathering and storing data like videos, pictures, and documents on wearable devices. As time goes on, the legal system will adapt to the changes in the internet atmosphere, and eDiscovery services will also put more concrete guidelines in place.
To learn more about eDiscovery services from The Document Group in Houston, Texas, contact us at (888)316-4670 or (713)343-4005