Digital Footprints That Small Law Firms Should Track
Before the internet age, discovery was a matter of digging through endless paper files. But the problem is that paper can be shredded, torn, burnt. In today's digital world, electronic forensic evidence abounds in every nook and cranny -- sometimes with great overlap.
Small firms must use some creativity to know where to look when dealing in the digital discovery game. These days, it helps to know exactly what digital footprints you should be tracking.
Smile, You're on Camera
It's really like a scene out of Minority Report. Cameras are everywhere and they're recording your every move. Most people get lax and careless. Fortunately, parties in litigation are like most people.
Security cameras are so cheap now that they are featured on the corners of practically every building in a city. Many homes also feature security camera feeds that get recorded on an endless loop. Both the defense team and the plaintiffs' side can leverage the use of recorded video to substantiate a defense or a claim against the opposing side.
Your Personal Tracker: Phones
Phones are both a tool and a liability. Recently, phones have been used to great effect to track the actions and conduct of police. That recorded video spoke more loudly than any description could have. In fact, the nation erupted when Diamond Reynolds placed the video of Philando Castile's unfortunate encounter with police on her social media account.
Phone records are difficult to obtain, but current techniques involve the use of subpoenas and demands to carriers. Their effectiveness is subject to much debate.
PC and IP addresses are also a font of information for litigators. The seizing of physical evidence outside of a criminal investigation is a little complicated, but all attorneys know that PCs are some of the best receptacles for sometimes damaging information. It can be difficult to seize physical devices, but subpoenas should be effective to capture the relevant evidence from the device.
Your Social Media Accounts
The beauty of social media account information is that more often than not, the relevant information is already free to be downloaded off the internet. Social media accounts should be one of the very first sources a lawyer should examine when attempting to get cold hard facts about a case. Be careful, however, that you do not run afoul of ethical rules.
- Digital Discovery: State of the Law (Harvard Law)
- 5 Top Cutting-Edge Legal Technologies You Can Start Using Today (FindLaw's Technologist)
- The Ethics of Technological Incompetence in the Law (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Potential Federal Criminalization of Revenge Porn (FindLaw's Technologist)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.