Your email is blowing up. Your phone is buzzing. You are not even done with your commute and you've already lined up two conference calls, a chat session and a cooperative exchange of Google Docs. You know you are forgetting something so you flip to your to-do list app, then your calendar, then back to your to-do list. And finally you remember that it’s in your reminder app. You want to throw your phone out of your car but you are also terrified of that thought because your phone is your office when you’re away from your desk.
Mobile devices are everywhere.
Mobile communications ceaselessly unfold between co-workers, employees and employers, husbands and wives, friends and family, strangers and virtual acquaintances. According to some recent statistics from the Pew Internet Research Group, 87 percent of Americans have cell phones, 46 percent own smartphones and 31 percent own tablets, but many more are planning on purchasing a tablet in the next year. In July 2011, forecasters predicted smartphones would reach 1 billion in annual sales by 2016. By December 2012, that number had more than doubled to 2.2 billion.
Protecting the Mobile Gold Mine
Each of these devices can hold a truly staggering amount and variety of data. Highly sensitive and possibly impulsive emails between business contacts, privilege-piercing accidental replies-to-all, calls to competitors, calls to colleagues, contacts with personal notes or nicknames, text messages about the boss, text messages about the delayed product rollout, photos of kids, photos of dogs, photos of confidential documents, even GPS data -- all of this is potentially sitting on any of the billions of devices out there as a gold mine of discoverable evidence.
Are e-Discovery software and service providers making tools that allow civil law practitioners to collect data from smartphones, i-devices and cell phones quickly and easily? What do they cost? And how do users review the data once it is collected? These tools do exist in the criminal law and especially law enforcement worlds, but do they apply to the corporate legal department or law firm?
Well, mobile device discovery is coming to the civilian world whether we are ready for it or not. While we have all indulged in a collective and baffling refusal to either pursue or curtail this information, engineers have been quietly creating the skeleton keys that will unlock it and designing them to be increasingly simple to use and affordable.