Be careful with document metadata

Last week, we indicated that there are a number of risks involved with accepting a printed document at face value. What follows are some visual examples of those pitfalls.

Electronic messages in court

Section 14  and 15 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002 (ECTA) allows for the admission of documents which is of electronic origin on the same basis as documentary evidence and implicitly states that such documents may not be excluded merely because they are “duplicate originals” or emanates from electronic means.

Examining electronically stored information

Many companies and individuals are regularly in the position where they wish to source Electronically Stored Information (ESI) from a third party during litigation. The process may occur through consent or may be in terms of a court order. The applicant should always consider the nature and the volatility of ESI as well as the format in which the data will be collected.

opensource forensic tools

There are a number of excellent opensource forensic tools (OSDF) available online and utilisation of these tools can lead to inexpensive investigations and information gathering in relation to electronically sourced information (ESI)- this will include all data that is stored in electronic format. 

Megan Jackson

As the volume of big data escalates and data storage capacity increases, law firms need to take a proactive approach to data discovery, retention and management. Electronic discovery (eDiscovery) is the process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case. 

Litigation and social media

Companies and individuals as well as legal representatives  should take note of a recent case heard by the High Court in Bloemfontein Bainsvlei Lodges (Pty) Ltd t/a Bains Game Lodge and Others v Lessing and Another (6215/2016) [2017] ZAFSHC 119 (27 July 2017), which is indicative of the courts attitude towards ill-considered postings.

Preserving digital evidence

Whether you elect to have an external or internal team,  having an efficient and quick response in today’s information age is essential. Where twitter, Instagram, Facebook and a number of other social media platforms are utilised to spread news, many of which has been proven to be so-called “Fake news” to instigate disharmony – your brand may be at serious risk.

ESI - outsource or in-house

It goes without saying, that paper based transactions are declining and communication via email are increasing at a rapid rate. The majority, if not all documents, are created digitally. Taking into account current news headlines, a number of in-house legal teams as well as legal firms will be inundated with enquiries regarding their documentation, including the ESI (Electronically Sourced Information).

Outsourcing digital forensics

Many large corporates have internal legal counsel, who then work in tandem with their preferred external legal representatives. However, with the advent of information technology, and the increased requirements of specialised knowledge of the IT world, it is becoming very apparent that in-house counsel require a multi skilled team approach to all litigation related matters:

Social media investigations

It is estimated that the internet contributes to over $2.2 trillion in annual retail sales. Negotiations are conducted over continents via email, major contracts are concluded, electronic service of notices are accepted by courts as proper service etc. (This includes service by social media such as facebook).

digital forensics law firmsUses and Examples of Digital Forensics and Computer Investigations - In working with attorneys around the world, we have found that the number one resource we have in our favor is a strong understanding of the legal system, and how our investigation will be used or viewed. This helps our attorney clients understand how the evidence we have found will help them or potentially hurt them.

trial preparationTrial preparation involves gathering and preparing the raw materials for a court case or hearing. Additionally, trial preparation gives a judge and a jury an overall, better understanding of the facts and information that are presented in a lawsuit. Depending on the nature of the lawsuit, preparation tasks may differ. Effective trial preparation can be essential to winning a case, so it should never be ignored.

online banking fraudMany South Africans have lost money after criminals stole funds from their online banking accounts – here is what to watch out for. While the methods used to steal a person’s banking details may differ, the process followed by fraudsters to steal money from online banking users in South Africa is nearly always the same.
Read more at MyBroadband...

protect your law firm from cyber crimeSurprisingly, computer criminals tend to have no prior record of crime. Computer criminals also tend to be responsible, honest people in a position of trust. In fact, many of the businesses that fall victim to a computer crime, find out that it was one of their employees that was the perpetrator of the act.

identity theftIdentity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes, not only in South Africa but worldwide. 1 370 cases had been reported to the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) as at the end of April 2014.

RAT computer hackedMany of us start up our computer and conduct all types of activities and business, including banking, without a second thought. Well, I have written this article so that perhaps you will give it a second thought.

Man Falsely Accused of Child Porn Charges Cleared After Hiring Computer Forensics ExpertImagine this scenario: your employer gives you a ticking time bomb full of child porn and then you get fired and then you get prosecuted as some kind of freak. George Fitzmons spent seven months in San Bernardino County Jail, even though he was innocent of the charges against him. What were those charges? The charge was possession of child pornography; Mr. Fitzmons was facing life in state prison.

employee termination digital forensicsDuring an employment litigation case, computer forensics can be the key element in the case. Emails, file transfers, and HTML caches are some of the "smoking guns" found during computer forensic investigations that have helped dismiss or settle cases. Some investigations reveal deliberate efforts to hide or destroy information and can lead to claims of spoliation.

accident attorneys need to focus on cell phones for evidenceEarlier this year, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) released their 2015 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. Topping the list was the need to do more about the growing problem of electronically distracted drivers. It's a problem that can certainly have deadly consequence.

Beware of DIY digital forensicsA Do-It-Yourself, or “DIY,” trend has permeated the legal industry when it comes to electronic discovery and litigation consulting services. In an effort to reduce costs, law firms and corporations are building internal teams to rely less on outside vendors, with varying degrees of success. However, certain DIY missions in litigation are fraught with peril and should be carefully examined.

digital forensics hard drive law firmsIf your opponent's client uses a computer or if the organization you represent uses computers, you need computer forensics. The computer has invaded our very existence, become a part of our lives, and is an integral part of almost every case from complex litigation and class actions to contract disputes and sexual harassment.

computer_forensics_law_firmsDigital forensics is the application of investigation and analysis techniques to gather and preserve evidence from a particular digital device in a way that is suitable for presentation in a court of law. The goal of digital forensics is to perform a structured investigation while maintaining a documented chain of evidence to find out exactly what happened on a digital device and who was responsible for it.

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