Post Process

Everything to do with E-discovery & ESI

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Off the Beaten Path (Weekend musings, March 12, 2011):

Posted by rjbiii on March 13, 2011

Data is Beautiful

Flowing Data posts a its review of the latest book in the Beautiful Data series. From the article:

While visualization can get very technical, the authors do a good job of keeping things abstract enough so that you know what they’re talking about even if you’re not particularly experienced in the field. They provide enough detail though that it’s still interesting for others.

A lot of people who are interested in visualization think that’s it’s a matter of learning a bunch of tools, but there’s a lot more to it than that. You’re also learning about data, and learning what questions to ask, and if you don’t know what questions to ask, you just end up with visualization that doesn’t really mean anything. Design also plays a role in in conveying the message you want. So it’s great that there’s a resource that can help you get into the experts’ heads.

If anything, it’s just fun to read about the process of how a graphic or tool gets made. For example, Jonathan Feinberg, who designed the ever popular Wordle, explains what went into the work. Some people like to knock it, but he knows plenty well that the stylized word clouds aren’t the best way to visualize data or extract information, or whatever.

Dude…where’s my car?

You may have seen the news that UCSD researchers had engaged in experiments to take control of your car’s computer using various methods, including this one:

But their most interesting attack focused on the car stereo. By adding extra code to a digital music file, they were able to turn a song burned to CD into a Trojan horse. When played on the car’s stereo, this song could alter the firmware of the car’s stereo system, giving attackers an entry point to change other components on the car. This type of attack could be spread on file-sharing networks without arousing suspicion, they believe. “It’s hard to think of something more innocuous than a song,” said Stefan Savage, a professor at the University of California.

Tagging without permission is…permissible Facebook

Evan Brown, the lawyer behind the blog Internet Cases, posts a summary of the issue of “tagging” information on Facebook. From the article:

The court rejected the mother’s assertion that the photos should not be considered as evidence. She argued that because Facebook allows anyone to post pictures and then “tag” or identify the people in the pictures, she never gave permission for the photographs to be published in this manner. The court held that “[t]here is nothing within the law that requires [one’s] permission when someone takes a picture and posts it on a Facebook page. There is nothing that requires [one’s] permission when she [is] “tagged” or identified as a person in those pictures.”

Linking to Trouble

Well, I’m glad Homeland Security is on top of things like this. I feel much safer now.

In a case against a New York website owner, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is claiming that merely linking to copyrighted material is a crime.

DHS, along with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), seized Brian McCarthy’s domain, channelsurfing.net, in late January. The site has now been replaced with a government warning: “This domain has been seized by ICE – Homeland Security Investigations, Special Agent in Charge, New York Office.”

“It is unlawful to reproduce copyrighted material, such as movies, music, software or games, without authorization… First-time offenders convicted of a criminal felony copyright law will face up to five years in federal prison, restitution, forfeiture and fine.”

The advocacy group Demand Progress has claimed that McCarthy never reproduced copyrighted material, and that his website simply linked to other sites.

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Around the block-March 8, 2011: Notes on Facebook and Predictive Coding

Posted by rjbiii on March 8, 2011

A few articles of note that affect electronic discovery, forensics, or cyber-security:

Predictive coding has been a hot topic, and at Prism Legal, Ron Friedman posts his thoughts on how it should be handled by courts:

[Courts] should presume that predictive coding is reliable. The burden of proof should shift to predictive coding opponents to show that it is not reliable.” Let the proponents of human review explain to the court why diverging expert views is better than consistent computers.

Agreed. “Relevance” is ultimately determined by the court. In “human review,” a lead attorney formulates a set of guidelines for document reviewers to follow. This formulation is based on his understanding of the case subject matter, the scope of discovery requests or other communications by the opposing party, and any direction he might receive from the court. The attorney’s understanding of relevance is, in theory, based on an honest attempt to obtain an understanding of the court’s definition of “relevance” for the instant matter. The guidelines then sent down to those attorneys reviewing documents is an attempt to accurately propagate this understanding. Obtaining consistency (and of course, accuracy, to the extent that term can be used here) between reviewers is a difficult (and often, costly) process requiring diligence and proper project management.

The larger the review team, the greater the challenge. Predictive coding offers the promise of greater consistency. To test its validity, however, the components that might be scrutinized are: the efficacy of the technology used, any “rules” created that affect the tool’s method of classification, and the methodologies behind any creating “sample” datasets used to “train” the tool on what is relevant and what is not.

EDiscovery map offers a primer in how to collect from EU-based data sources.

There is a serious conflict for US firms with affiliates in EEA countries, when they get involved in civil litigation within the US: On the one hand, Federal and State rules mandate retention and production of all relevant data, even data located outside of the US, with the risk of severe penalties by the Courts in case of “spoliation”, and on the other hand, EU data protection laws (applicable to the EEA) mandate very strict data protection rules for “personal data” of their residents, that seriously restricts processing of personal data and transfer of those data to “non-adequate” countries outside of the EEA, with risks of steep fines in case of transgression.

Continuing on, we’ve argued about this before, but the ABA posts an article explaining why e-discovery is killing legal jobs. Not that I agree with the assessment.

The ACEDS staff takes on the subject of EDD and social media:

One of the important issues involved in social networking evidence is admissibility. The Federal Rules of Evidence require evidence to be authenticated before it can be admitted in court. With nearly everyone having the power to create accounts and claim to be someone else, how can one prove the true identity of a username in court?

To help establish authenticity of information gathered from social media sites and intended for use as evidence, testimony from the person who obtains printed screenshots from the social networking web page should be documented, along with details of how and when the pages were accessed and printed.

I agree with this…but I’m not sure how authentication of social media content differs from that associated with the collection of any other website. On the same topic, we now read of Facebook’s “self-collection” tool, which the company has provided its users:

Now, 500 million users of the most popular social network on the planet (which includes not just individuals, but organizations as well) have a mechanism to “self-collect” their data for their own use and safekeeping. Or, they can “self-collect” for use in litigation. In his article, Craig [Ball] likens Facebook’s download function to Staples’ famous easy button. How can an attorney argue an overly burdensome collection when you simply have to click a button?

Discovery requests for Facebook-related data may become ever more prevalent, if you believe Andre Yee when he says that Facebook is the new internet.

Posted in Articles, International Issues, Social Media Sites, Trends | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Around the Block-November 24, 2010

Posted by rjbiii on November 24, 2010

Around the block is a regular feature of Post Process, providing a brief survey of articles and issues of note affecting law and technology.

EU Flag
The EU “Cookie Rule” will soon go into affect. A Computer World article penned by Stewart Room notes that this entails big changes for ISPs. From the article:

These new rules focus in particular on the dropping of cookies onto our equipment. This will only be lawful if the service provider has the subscriber or user’s consent. In order for consent to be valid, it must be freely given, specific and informed, the benchmarks established by the Data Protection Directive.

The EU’s Article 29 Working Party, which is made up of the national data protection regulators and other officials, issued an opinion on cookies and the consent issue earlier in 2010, observing that the new rules will not be satisfied by default browser settings, bulk consents, web user inactivity or the use of opt-outs.

Criticisms of the rule, which appears to require user consent every time a cookie is to be dropped on a computer, include charges that it isn’t practical, that it (along with other regulations) will stifle e-commerce growth, and that such a “pro-privacy” approach will actually work to diminish the user’s enjoyment of the internet.

Facebook

Facebook May Become a More Frequent Target of Discovery. Facebook’s recent announcement that it will introduce a communication system that could replace email may complicate the lives of us working in electronic discovery. Shannon Green, in her article “Facebook Creates a Mess for EDD: Messages,” notes that the service’s large user-base having these additional tools creates additional burdens and risks for future litigants and employers:

The system has three key components: seamless messaging, a social inbox, and conversation history. Facebook engineer Joel Seligstein blogged, “You decide how you want to talk to your friends: via SMS, chat, e-mail or Messages.” Facemail messages will be clustered by sender instead of by the “antiquated” concept of using a subject line.

So far, so good. But what might be most problematic for employers is that Facebook will preserve these messages — text, chat, or smoke signals — forever.

“It’s definitely a problem in that it means these e-mails will be outside the boundaries of their retention policy,” said Rudy Rouhana, an attorney and director of product marketing at Daegis, a provider of e-discovery services. “So, if they typically delete e-mail every 90 days, 2 years, etc., they will be unable to enforce that on e-mails created in this system,” he said.

Protect your data when traveling internationally. Wired has posted an article in their “How-to” Wiki on protecting your data during border crossings. From the article:

But recently, we’ve seen incidents of computer security experts with ties to WikiLeaks and white hat hackers being stopped by government agents and having their laptops and phones thoroughly inspected.

Unless you work in computer research, or if you have ties to whistleblowers or cybersecurity journalists, the chance is very, very slim that your electronics will be searched. But even if you don’t think you’re up to anything that would arouse the suspicion of the Feds, you should still take precautions. Also, the threat of theft or snooping is something you should pay attention to, no matter how far from home you wander.

Note that these rights extend only to U.S. citizens. Any foreign visitor can be refused entry to the country by border officials on almost any grounds, even if you have a visa.

Posted in Around the Block, Articles, email, International Issues, Privacy | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Around the block: 10/18/10

Posted by rjbiii on October 18, 2010

A few articles of note:

Unsurprisingly, to those who have been paying attention, some of Facebook’s apps transmit personally identifiable data. This breaks Facebook’s rules and raises many of the same privacy questions that has dogged the site in recent times. From the a WSJ article on the issue:

The problem has ties to the growing field of companies that build detailed databases on people in order to track them online—a practice the Journal has been examining in its What They Know series. It’s unclear how long the breach was in place. On Sunday, a Facebook spokesman said it is taking steps to “dramatically limit” the exposure of users’ personal information.

“A Facebook user ID may be inadvertently shared by a user’s Internet browser or by an application,” the spokesman said. Knowledge of an ID “does not permit access to anyone’s private information on Facebook,” he said, adding that the company would introduce new technology to contain the problem identified by the Journal.

The Ensigns blog has posted an interesting article on Search, perhaps inaptly entitled E-Discovery Search: The Truth, the Statistical Truth, and Nothing But the Statistical Truth. It is a very good primer on search, rather than on statistical methodology that one might surmise from the title. It is, however, a good article. An example is a passage on Latent Semantic Indexing:

What does “Latent” mean? Roughly speaking, it means “hidden.” And “Semantic” means, again roughly, “meaning.”

So, the phrase is actually descriptive of what we are trying to accomplish: find the hidden meanings (patterns) in a collection of documents, not because of the specific words we choose as input, but because of the other words in the documents containing the words we did choose and their “co-occurrence” with words in other documents, documents which do not contain our search terms.

Law.com provides you 10 helpful tips for managing cases. In 10 Tips for Effective Litigation Case Management, there is more than just a nod to applying project management principles to help with ROI and making decisions, an approach of which I greatly approve. From the article:

The past decade has ushered in significant new challenges in litigation case management. These include: the explosion in electronic discovery, the increasing importance of cross-border cooperation in litigation and investigations, and the expectation that counsel will keep abreast of, and communicate to their clients, changes in relevant legal rules and precedent on a virtually real-time basis.

These challenges have been accelerated by the global financial crisis, which has led clients to become more comfortable asking for, and coming to expect, services and fee arrangements tailored to their unique needs and goals. We are in an era of increasing competition and increasingly sophisticated legal consumers. The goal must be maximizing client value without sacrificing quality service. In the end, after all, the business of law really is all about the client and achieving its objectives.

In brief, other topics include:

Posted in Articles, Privacy, Project Management, Search Engine Technology | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Around the Block: Jan. 7, 2010

Posted by rjbiii on January 7, 2010

A look at some interesting recent articles and posts about law and technology:

New York case law on litigation holds is discussed by Attorney Mark Berman. From the article:

It is well established that the “utter failure to establish any form of litigation hold at the outset of litigation is grossly negligent.” A showing of gross negligence is “plainly enough to justify sanctions at least as serious as an adverse inference.”

BUT…

On the other hand, not every matter is ripe for e-discovery, and the decision in Kaiser v. Raoul’s Rest. Corp.,is illustrative of the fact that one still needs to sufficiently justify a request for e-discovery, and that overbroad demands will not be countenanced.

The Fulton County Daily Reporter posts the news that a Georgia Judge has voluntarily stepped down, apparently because of an investigation into his relationship with a defendant that began on Facebook. From the article:

Woods’ departure from the bench effectively ends inquiries being made in the circuit from the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission, which investigates complaints against judges. The JQC, whose workings are confidential by law, has made no public statement of any investigation regarding Woods.

From Ryley, Carlock, and Applewhite:

In Vagenos v. LDG Financial Services, LLC, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 121490 (E.D.N.Y. Dec. 31, 2009), District Court Judge Brian M. Cogan denied defendant’s in limine motion to preclude plaintiff from offering at trial an alleged duplicate recording of an electronically-stored telephone message, but ordered an adverse inference instruction for plaintiff and his counsel’s failure to preserve the message.

From Law Technology News, an article examining how to Mine Web 2.0 for Evidence:

On Oct. 17, 2009, an armed assailant robbed two men outside a housing project in Brooklyn, N.Y. Almost immediately, the police focused their investigation on Rodney Bradford, a 19-year-old resident of the housing project who had been indicted a year earlier for a similar robbery. After one of the victims positively identified Bradford in a police lineup, the police arrested him and charged him with first-degree robbery.

Open-and-shut case, right? Wrong. It turns out Bradford was innocent and he had an airtight alibi to prove it. At the time of the crime, he was 12 miles away at his father’s house in Harlem, updating his Facebook status. After the district attorney subpoenaed Facebook and received the exculpatory evidence, Bradford was cleared of all charges and released.

Computerworld contributor Richard Power discusses how the Information Age has transformed the world the of the Private Investigator, with a Q&A with former FBI Agent (and current PI) Ed Stroz:

Stroz had served for 16 distinguished years in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), during which he established the New York City FBI computer crime squad, one of the first two in the country, and directed several significant FBI investigations, including the high-profile international case of Vladimir Levin, a Russian hacker who broke into Citibank. In 2000, Stroz founded a private investigation (PI) firm in 2000, and has assisted his corporate clients in responding to Internet-extortions, denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, hacks and unauthorized access, and theft of trade secrets. He has also pioneered the concept of incorporating behavioral science into the methodology for addressing computer crime and abuse.

Marica Coyle posts an article for the National Law Journal noting that the Supreme Court will hear a case to resolve a circuit split concerning the work-product doctrine.

Textron Inc. v. U.S. stems from a long-running legal battle between the corporation and the Internal Revenue Service over the government’s demand for Textron’s tax-accrual work papers. Those papers generally are prepared with the assistance of in-house and external counsel and relied upon by independent auditors to determine the accuracy of financial statements. They often contain legal analyses and evaluations of potential litigation risks associated with particular tax transactions.

Last August, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 3-2 en banc ruling, held that the papers were not protected by the work-product doctrine and had to be turned over to the IRS in a tax shelter investigation.

Posted in Adverse Inference, Articles, Litigation Hold, Technology, Trends | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Social Sites becoming Databases for Prosecutors

Posted by rjbiii on July 20, 2008

An AP article discusses a case in which photos of a party posted on Facebook ended up haunting the defendant in a drunken-driving case:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Two weeks after Joshua Lipton was charged in a drunken driving crash that seriously injured a woman, the 20-year-old college junior attended a Halloween party dressed as a prisoner. Pictures from the party showed him in a black-and-white striped shirt and an orange jumpsuit labeled “Jail Bird.”

In the age of the Internet, it might not be hard to guess what happened to those pictures: Someone posted them on the social networking site Facebook. And that offered remarkable evidence for Jay Sullivan, the prosecutor handling Lipton’s drunken-driving case.

Sullivan used the pictures to paint Lipton as an unrepentant partier who lived it up while his victim recovered in the hospital. A judge agreed, calling the pictures depraved when sentencing Lipton to two years in prison.

The Judge on the case said that the photos did affect his decisions with respect to the sentence he passed down.

Post Process has previously taken notice of the trend in this post. One thing to note, the defendant himself didn’t publish these photos…another party-goer did.

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Facebook, other social sites, becoming sources of data collection

Posted by rjbiii on October 13, 2007

Before you go wild and crazy on your personal page on Facebook, or whatever your preferred social networking site is, you might remind yourself that whatever you publish may come back to haunt you. According to an article from the National Law Journal at Law.com, attorneys are, more than ever, trolling through social networking sites to see what nuggets of gold can be gleaned from adversaries’ pages:

In one case, [attorney Joan] Malbrough said she helped secure shared custody for the father after finding his wife had posted sexually explicit comments on her boyfriend’s MySpace page. In another case, a husband’s credibility was questioned because, on his MySpace page, he said he was single and looking.

Lawyers in civil and criminal cases are increasingly finding that social networking sites can contain treasure chests of information for their cases. Armed with printouts from sites such as Facebook and MySpace, attorneys have used pictures, comments and connections from these sites as powerful evidence in the courtroom.

Content on such sites have been taken into account during sentencing as well. In an age when technology is ever more embedded (or intrusive?) into our daily lives, and when criminal acts are often filmed by the very perpetrators committing them, digital evidence will become the rule rather than the exception. For many, it already has.

Posted in Articles, Data Collection, Trends | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »