It used to be easy. Company A would sue company B down the street and a crew of technical professionals could handle the acquisition of digital evidence in no time, sometimes even being able to handle Electronically Stored Information (ESI) acquisition from both places on the same trip. But today, the opposing sides could even be across the hall from each other, yet the data to be collected could be scattered across multiple continents. Imagine the complexities involved when Company A’s Indian developer and Company B’s production office in Taiwan are key players, and of course we can’t forget about the European distribution hub. Just for good measure, let’s throw a couple of cloud platforms in the mix with datacenters in Singapore and the EU. Needless to say, the journey of eDiscovery in these globally connected cases today can be like a fully loaded 18-wheeler on a steep incline with black ice in the forecast, and if just one thing goes wrong, the twisted wreck at the end will be far from a pretty sight.
“When dealing with international cases, there are a lot of things have to be taken into account, not only the rules of privacy and protection that can vary from country to country, like the very stringent rules set forth in the EU Data Protection Directive 94/46/EC, or the criminal liability which can be involved in the French Blocking Statute, but dealing with cultural mindsets which can differ significantly from the perspective of a US court,” said Joseph Caruso, CEO/CTO of Global Digital Forensics. “Compared to most foreign nations, the rules of discovery in the US are broad and far reaching, and that’s the only lens a US judge will typically view a case through. They may not be interested that in the EU express consent has to be given from the individual whose personal electronic information will cross borders, and that getting that consent may prove impossible due to the fact that a European court could likely consider even a signed consent form as inherently coerced due to the very nature of an employer/employee relationship. To a US judge, it’s first and foremost about relevancy and importance to the case at hand, but for the attorney it becomes a complex maze of decisions and strategies outside the normal scope. It may come down to taking the route of invoking the Hague Convention as a means to obtain the desired ESI, if it resides in one of the 54 countries that is contracted to the Hague Convention that is, but what if the data is in Singapore, which is not? We maintain close relationships and resources strategically across the globe, so when it becomes a game of borders, cultural differences and legal maneuvering, we have the bases well covered to get the answers, evidence and results attorneys will need to be successful.”
And while the rules and process can be daunting when digital evidence goes international, there is also the troublesome inconvenience of loads of data possibly being in different languages altogether, taking the process of culling and analytics to an entirely different level of complication. Global Digital Forensics has plenty of experience in dealing with this problematic aspect of eDiscovery as well, constantly pioneering tools, processes and procedures that can help pinpoint the information you are looking for across multiple language platforms.
So if you even suspect your case will have an international flavor, don’t wait until the problems pile up before you get an eDiscovery expert on your side with plenty of international hands-on experience in dealing with the pitfalls and problems you will very likely face. With Global Digital Forensics in your corner at the onset of the case, even the early stages of discovery, like the meet and confer or discovery conference, could be turned into future advantage, instead of an increasingly paralyzing nightmare. To discuss your case right now with a seasoned digital evidence specialist, call toll free (800) 868-8189, or visit www.globaldigitalforensics.com for more information.
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