A collaborative survey done by Clearwell Systems and Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) polled over a hundred US Fortune 2000 companies and government agencies about the biggest trends in E-Discovery for 2011. The results show that the relevancy of cloud computing and social media is expected to become more prominent in discovery exercises.
The common challenge between these two trends is the fact that the content is generally not under the control of data owner. Having the data under the control of a third-party adds new hurdles to the identification and collection processes of an E-Discovery exercise. Advanced early case assessment techniques will need to be adopted in order to properly identify all potentially relevant data sources as it may become important to know things such as who has been accessing Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Even once the data sources have been identified, the challenge of collecting data from systems that may be under different jurisdictions and are generally not designed to allow data to be extracted in a forensically sound way will need addressed.
Quick Tip: Facebook have implemented a self-collection mechanism that allows users to download a copy of all user-created data from their Facebook profile. The download is a zip file that contains a series of HTML files and includes wall posts, list of friends, private messages, uploaded pictures and profile information. Although this functionality is a good starting point for social media collection, it was not conceived to be a forensic collection tool. The only original timestamps that it preserves are in the HTML files which can easily be modified.
How to download your Facebook data:
1. Log into your Facebook account;
2. Select the Account Settings from the Account menu;
3. Click the link: “Download a copy of your Facebook data”;
4. Click the Download button to have an email containing the download link sent to the address associated with your Facebook account;
5. Click the download link in the email;
6. Click the link: “Download a copy of your Facebook data”;
7. Re-enter your Facebook password for verification; and
8. Click the Download Now button.