Making Online Discovery Easy

by Chirag Verma on July 17, 2015

Don't get caught piecing together your online history

The numbers of court cases involving web content -- especially social media -- have continued to increase. More often than ever, a Twitter stream or Facebook page has become key evidence in court. Companies and individuals are discovering that their online history is of vital importance -- and not everyone has been preserving it properly.

Without a defensible archive of your web content, you may be stuck piecing together your online records using unreliable and incomplete sources. Sometimes this type of detective work must be done by investigators, as in the case of the deleted Instagram account of a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. Authorities are re-constructing the account using the leftover digital imprints that still remain, such as the traces saved by Google’s web cache. But the suspect’s complete account could not be recovered this way, because Google’s cache stores information for variable lengths of time.

Don’t rely on backups or copies

Even when the case is not criminal, as the one described, defensible archives of online activity are critical for companies and agencies that might be involved in any type of legal or regulatory action. You certainly can’t rely on the social media sites to retain your information for any guaranteed length of time:

"Given the volume of real-time content on Instagram, some information may only be stored for a short period of time," Instagram says on its site. "We do not retain data for law enforcement purposes unless we receive a valid preservation request."

Similar statements on other social media sites make it clear that although the companies will produce any evidence they have upon legal request, there is no guarantee of how much they will be able to produce. The same goes for Google’s cache, server backups, and revision control (in the case of websites). These “copies” of your web content are often incomplete, unreliable, and unacceptable as evidence in court.

Take charge of your digital evidence

The answer to complete digital records lies with web and social media archiving. Providing for all your data to be systematically captured and stored guarantees your preparedness and protection in any case involving web content. A defensible archive also carries a digital timestamp and signature, ensuring its data integrity and authenticity.

There’s no excuse these days for piecing together your online records from questionable sources. The technology exists to create perfect, court-ready digital records of all your web and social media content. Archiving saves time and money when it comes to the ediscovery process -- and of course, you can’t put a price on peace of mind.


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