Electronic Discovery and the Rise of Smartphones

Routinely, I go through the intake forms associated with new digital forensics cases to see what is coming in on what kind of cases, from what sources, etc. Recently, I have been struck by the sheer volume of cases involving the recovery of deleted data (primarily text messages) from smartphones.

We bought some expensive equipment recently to broaden our ability to acquire and analyze smartphones and my director of digital forensics told me that it would just about pay for itself in a week. While that made me happy, it underscored just how many smartphones are in our lab.

There are certainly profound e-discovery implications for businesses and e-discovery firms resulting from the rise of the smartphone. According to Money magazine, 50% of U.S. mobile subscribers own a smartphone and 81% are projected to own one by 2015. At the senior levels of business, just about everyone has one.

Surprisingly, 25% of smartphone users rely solely on their phones to access the Internet. One user was quoted as saying “The smartphone basically manages my entire life.”

Though we hear a great deal about the security risks of smartphones, there is much less buzz about their evidentiary implications. Judging by our lab, an increasing percentage of important ESI is to be found in smartphones.

This post originally appeared on Ride the Lightning: Electronic Evidence and Information Security Blog.

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