Organizational litigants such as corporations have been able to level the playing field in recent years—strategically and tactically—because, although they must identify, collect and produce a greater volume of documents and electronically stored information (ESI) than an individual opposing party, they now have access to potentially highly relevant ESI created by individuals themselves on the Internet, from social media, blogs, picture sites and other sources. Much of this information is low hanging fruit, but what steps should be taken to acquire it and when?
In Part 1 of this article, we discussed evidence that individuals create on social media accounts, on their smart phones and in the cloud. In Part 2, we discussed the role this content plays in many types of civil and criminal cases, where it is used by companies, government agencies and other organizations in both defensive and offensive ways. In Part 3, we will discuss practical methods for acquiring, searching for and using this valuable evidence.
Serve an interrogatory that specifically asks for all social media and picture site memberships, blogs and other sources of an online presence. This should be a broad request. Facebook may be the most common and popular social media site, but there are many sites that cater to specific interests, ranging from motorcycle enthusiasts, skiers and rock climbers to stamp collectors and rock hounds. What could be more appealing to the hobbyists who frequent these sites than pictures of like-minded people riding, skiing, climbing, or displaying their treasured collections?