Collected emails serve as critical electronic evidence in legal proceedings, but their value hinges on their validity and forensic integrity. To ensure the evidence is admissible and won’t be challenged the data collection must adhere to certain criteria, such as self-authentication, comprehensive scope, reliable collection methods, clear identification of collectors, error log records, and the inclusion of native files with metadata.
Given these factors and numerous other considerations, it is highly advantageous to engage a digital forensics expert for the forensic collection of emails in business civil litigation, as opposed to relying on custodians to collect their own email. Here are just a few reasons why:
Moreover, to comprehensively explore the potential of email evidence in civil litigation, it is essential to understand the various sources from which these emails can be collected. By gaining insights into the different platforms and systems involved, legal professionals can effectively navigate the digital landscape to secure crucial evidence. Let’s delve into some common sources where emails can be extracted for litigation purposes:
MS365, MS Exchange, and Google Apps: Organizations often rely on cloud-based email platforms such as MS365 (formerly known as Office 365), MS Exchange, and Google Apps for their email communication. These platforms store and manage emails in a centralized manner, making them prime sources for email collection in litigation. Digital forensics experts can access these platforms, extract emails, and preserve them as evidence. By employing specialized techniques and tools, they can navigate the intricate data structures of these platforms to ensure the comprehensive collection of relevant emails.
Gmail and Other Individual Email Boxes: Many individuals utilize popular email services such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, and others for their personal and professional communication. These individual email boxes hold valuable evidence that can contribute to civil litigation. Digital forensics experts can apply their expertise to collect emails from these accounts, adhering to legal standards and maintaining the integrity of the evidence. With proper authorization and adherence to privacy laws, they can extract relevant emails, preserving vital information for litigation purposes.
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol): IMAP is a standard email protocol used for retrieving and managing emails from a mail server. Unlike POP (Post Office Protocol), which typically downloads emails to a single device, IMAP allows users to access and synchronize their email accounts across multiple devices. Digital forensics experts can leverage IMAP to collect emails from various devices and email clients that support this protocol. By utilizing specialized tools and techniques, they can connect to the email servers, extract emails, and ensure a comprehensive collection for litigation purposes.
Using a digital forensics expert to forensically collect email in a business civil litigation can be beneficial as they are trained to properly preserve and collect digital evidence, they can authenticate the evidence, they are objective, they have technical expertise, they are familiar with legal standards and they can extract, analyze and interpret the email evidence to establish the chronology of events, identify the parties involved, and support the evidence being presented in court. They can also help in uncovering cybercrime and they can use the email evidence to corroborate other forms of digital evidence.
At Forensic Discovery, we’re with you every step of the way. We not only provide you with a quick collection over a variety of email sources, but also guarantee data admissibility and cut down on the time needed to sort through the data by placing all the data in a searchable and
sortable database. We provide this service, along with training, for our hosted eDiscovery review – a powerful feature for searching and sorting data.