eDiscovery and Litigation Support

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Issues in eDiscovery: Social Media

  
  
  

In my last posts, I wrote about eDiscovery and how it will likely evolve to be a service. I argued that a standard hosted Ediscovery capability could emerge to leverage all the power and promise of “The Cloud”. This of course means leveraging the seemingly limitless supply of computing power residing in such “Cloud Computing” services. The premise was built around basically outsourcing the archiving and storage of email and other business records communication. I argued that this will likely involve a hybrid model of intelligent software components pushing business messages “into” the cloud and having discovery services as part of the service contract with a cloud provider.

I took the position that this would be an evolution as the process of steps many consider eDiscovery to include will move one step at a time toward a finished and smooth application delivered as a package. It may take a sequence of steps to obtain the “full service” but if eDiscovery can become a finished application suite of services (like Salesforce.com is for Customer Relationship Management (CRM)) then people should be able to leverage “The Cloud” to obtain it.

This is all fine and dandy except for one challenging problem: the advent of messaging being “absorbed” into social media cloud services. What happens when the messages originate and live in the cloud? Social media sites present this problem because they are both a personal “lockbox” where some communications are private and an emerging business communications medium where relevant business records originate and are stored. This is a sticky issue because it makes it difficult to discern between a private message among “friends” and a valid business message that might relate to a litigation event or matter.

Ediscovery strategies around social media sites will be particularly important in the near future as more and more users switch from email services or corporate messaging to social media messaging as a primary communication medium. The understanding of discovery issues will be essential with the advent of social networking; particularly as social media sites become the communication medium of choice for many people.

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