The reality is that most law firms do not have control over this process and as a consequence they are exposed to unnecessary risk and inconsistent data quality. When attorneys or supporting staff search for information about a person using Google or Social Media, they expose the firm to unnecessary risks. These risks include:
- interacting or friend requesting
- showing as suggested contact in the subjects feed
- missing valuable information, not knowing where to search
- limiting results to a general google search
- not securing chain of custody of information
- not documenting the investigation or being able to demonstrate how something was found
When attorneys or supporting staff search for information about a person using Google or Social Media, they produce inconsistent results. This variation is caused by inconsistent search methods and lack of knowledge about which sites to search. Close attention must be given to the search queries and site that are searched to ensure that all valuable information is found. Additionally, the information must be usable by the law firm as it needs to be sourced in a compliant and ethical method.
Controlling and documenting the process of querying social media and web searches is vital to comply with the Federal Rules of Evidence and ensure that the information collected is defensible. As a result of the ever-changing nature of the social web, the ability to collect defensible data poses many challenges to legal teams trying to leverage this type of evidence in litigation. The nature of the world wide web provides easy avenues to social media in many forms including blogs, forums, business networks photo-sharing platforms, social gaming, microblogs and chat apps. In 2019, the global penetration rate reached 45 percent, with East Asia and North America having the highest penetration rate at 70 percent followed by Northern Europe at 67 percent. With this massive amount of data and over 160 social media platforms and web sources, relying on a consistent, ethical process will streamline and preserve difficult to discover data and metadata.
At SMI Aware our deep report sources data ethically and utilizes the same proprietary process with each search to provide a customized, easy to read report for each subject. Isn’t it time to start looking at how the quality of your data is retrieved?