Alextronic Discovery
Alextronic Discovery
An Electronic Discovery Blog covering News, Articles
and Thoughts for the Legal and Corporate Community Author: Alexander H. Lubarsky, LL.M., Esq. - - Tel. (415) 533-4166 OR 800-375-4222 THIS BLAWG IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE WEB SITES WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.ORG OR WWW.DISCOVERYRESOURCES.COM

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Detective ED says, Book 'em Danno!  


The criminal courts and the cops may be way ahead of us in the forms of traditional forensics (the blood and hair sample stuff) but us civil litigators have reveled in the fact that we can smoke them DA's, PD's, cops and robbers when it comes to traditional electronic discovery (getting at the computer guts and not the crime victim's guts).

I once (quite recently) spoke at a police department to a group of investigators and the group was stunned at my depictions of harvesting e-mail messages and running filter queries for later categorization and examination of metadata. The cops were big on data mining hard drives for their child pornography internet cases, but beyond that, electronic evidence was as mystifying to them as a stun gun is to me...

Things have changed. Just this week, the Boston police department assigned handheld network devices (RIM Blackberries, to be precise) to the force and networked them gadgets with regional crime databases. Now the officers can page each other while they pull up the rap sheet on the would be robber by the dumpster behind the local Pay n' Pak.

Gone are the days of "going back to the precinct to run the prints."

Of course, this on the fly flurry of electronic data coming out of the law enforcement community will translate into a steep increase in ED activity. One of many reasons why the ED community can expect to keep a hefty supply of donuts on hand these days is that Blackberry and other relatively pervasive technologies have been strategically interfaced with previously unknown and still 'clumsy' law enforcement databases such as Matrix or SEVIS. The integration of e-mail technologies such as RIM will in effect lift the data from these systems and allow it to travel as e-mail attachments through the internet. Hence, we see traditionally discoverable mediums (e-mail) as vehicles for other types of critical electronic data that had not vehicle to enter the public domain. It can be analogized, I guess, to the Ukrainian herring farmer who did not find an international market for his pungent fish until the railroad was developed to bring the product to France, Germany, Italy and other far away places.

The Supreme court recently chimed in. A plaintiff who claimed that a police stop requiring him to divulge his name amounted to an unconstitutional search and seizure was rebuffed by Justice John Paul Stevens who referenced Blackberryesque technology to justify the importance of available data "at the scene" to confirm identity in furtherance of the interests of law enforcement. Score one for ED ... sorry little thing called Fourth Amendment...

Mobile computing and wireless e-mail devices are surely carrying data from all crevices of the nation into the mainstream. This is yet another avenue that should be watched as electronic evidence continues to gain momentum.

posted by Alexander | 6:25 PM


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