Should instant messages be on your radar screen for legal holds, review and production? Email, until recently, often would be the only communication considered for preservation and use in litigation and investigations. Not so anymore. Text and instant messaging have become both ubiquitous and an increasingly important form of evidence. Although various types of text and instant messaging have been around for some time, the explosion in the use of portable devices — particularly smart phones — has propelled an increasing use of text and instant messaging for both personal and work-related communications.
A recent study published by the Pew Research Center on Sept. 16, 2013, entitled Cell Phone Activities 2013, reports that 91 percent of American adults own a mobile phone and 81 percent use their phone to send or receive text or instant messages. Broken down by age group, fully 97 percent of those 18-29 and 94 percent of those 30-49 send and receive such messages on their phones. Those in the 50-64 and 65+ age groups bring down the overall average at 75 percent (still high) and 35 percent, respectively.