In previous posts I touched on the unsettling reality that involving Internet defamation can have a devastating impact on a Company and individual’s reputation.The harmful effects to a business and reputation are only compounded when Company’s allow the defamatory content to fester and remain in online space, risking that possibility that each day a new volume of online users will come across it. Online users that come across the defamatory content will undeniably form an unflattering opinion about that company. To backtrack for informational purposes, defamation is defined as the act of making untrue statements about another which damages his/her reputation. If the defamatory statement is printed or broadcast over the media it is libel and, if only oral, it is slander. Internet defamation would fall under the libel category.
There may be additional requirements varying from state to state, but generally, whether you are the victim of internet defamation or being wrongfully accused of internet defamation, you need to understand the law. In order for a comment, post or article to constitute internet libel, the following elements must typically be met:
In previous blog posts we covered the in’s and out’s regarding employee’s stealing confidential company information (hyperlink) and the role of forensics after employee data theft has occurred (hyperlink). To provide some context, we discussed how having the most efficient and thorough internal policy or preventive measures in place can still result in employee data theft. It may be unsettling to realize that a resourceful and persistent employee may inevitably be able to steal Company data. The role of computer forensics is pivotal in helping to gather information and evidence about the perpetrator, which enables the employer to seek legal redress. Legal Remedies may include monetary damages or an injunction.
Unfortunately, many employers do not realize an employee has taken confidential information until weeks or months have passed and this will hinder any legal claim. As is the case in most legal settings, by altering the former employee’s computer it will diminish the value of the evidence uncovered and consequently prevent a successful claim. That is why digital forensics Corporation recommends preserving the digital contents of a former employee’s computer by making a forensics copy of the hard drive or mobile device. Should suspicions arise in the future concerning theft of confidential information or other potential causes of action, the evidence obtained from a forensic examination conducted on the hard drive “mirror” will be as credible in Court as if the original hard drive had been preserved and examined.
In a previous post we addressed the underlying issues and harm caused by an ex-employee stealing confidential company information. We discussed that having internal policies in place to prevent data theft which often entails fostering an environment where employees have limited access to confidential data from their initial hire date. The unsettling reality that cannot be overlooked, however, is that even with the implementation of a thorough policy, a resourceful and persistent employee will inevitably be able to steal Company data. Rather than allowing an atmosphere of paranoia to kick in and envelop your Company, the best method to approach this scenario is to rely on forensics examiners to help demonstrate that the ex-employee took information without consent which will undeniably cause harm to the company.
Ultimately, in this context what you don’t know can hurt you. Professional assistance ensures a greater likelihood of not only effective data theft prevention, but also assessing the damage after the fact with the goal of bringing the ex-employee to *justice (*tune into future posts for legal recourse against an ex-employee). Computer forensics experts can locate evidence of an employee’s improper conduct using specialized software, hardware and techniques.
In simpler times, a devious employee would have to devote countless hours and energy into stealing pertinent information from their Company. In the current technologically driven age where nearly all Company files (financial statements, trade secrets) are stored electronically, one can never be absolutely certain if employees are secretly stealing company information. Electronic documents are easy to copy and are naturally more prone to theft than old fashioned hard-copy documents. In prior posts we discussed the importance of limiting access to confidential Company information by creating passwords and other various precautionary measures, which is certainly a good starting point.
However, consider just one scenario where technology affords an employee the opportunity to take data electronically from a company by utilizing a USB device. The device can be slipped into a computer stealthily, can hold vast amounts of data, and does not require an intricate operation to undertake. This is merely one example but it demonstrates not only the ease with which electronic documents can be stolen, but also the quantity that can be taken in a brief time span.
The myriad of reasons an employee may be motivated to take confidential company information can range anywhere from the employee doing so inadvertently to an employee intending to derive personal gain by exploiting a trade secret. Whatever the reason may be, it has become evident that every company should implement internal policies to protect themselves not only after a data theft has occurred but also by taking preventive measures. Legal Evidence Corporation has experience implementing policies and technology necessary to protect Company data.
In previous posts we briefly delved into the requirement to preserve and/or produce electronic information for electronic discovery, and the forewarning that the failure to do so can have dire consequences in the form of facing monetary fines from the Court overseeing the matter. This post aims to provide more in depth information regarding spoliation laws so that lawyers and clients do not fail to preserve a litigation hold which may bring sanctions that may entail substantial fines.
Courts may issue sanctions when spoliation (destruction of evidence) appears to be inadvertent, without any malicious intent, or without knowledge of e-Discovery laws. Very early into their burgeoning legal careers is when law students may be introduced to the Latin concept of “Ignorantia juris non excusat” which roughly translates to ignorance of the law excuses not. This legal principle generally holds that when an individual violates a law they were unaware of, they may not escape liability merely because he or she was unaware of its content. Although it is typically applied to criminal statutes, it has some relevance here.
Under the rules of civil procedure, courts have broad discretion to impose a variety of sanctions against a party that fails to produce evidence in violation of the civil rules. The limitation to this is that the discovery rules apply only to acts of spoliation that occur during the pendency of a lawsuit or following a court order. Courts also rely upon their inherent power to control the administration of justice to sanction pre-litigation spoliation. This authority allows courts to preserve their independence and integrity, since the destruction of evidence inhibits a court’s ability to hear evidence and accurately determine the facts.
Intellectual Property (IP) can be defined as a work or invention that is the result of creativity, such as a manuscript or a design, to which one has rights and for which one may apply to prevent others from use of that creativity. The rights and protections for owners of intellectual property are based on federal patent, trademark and copyright laws. The basic distinction between these laws are that Patents protect inventions of tangible things, Copyrights protect various forms of written and artistic expression, and Trademarks protect a name or symbol that identifies the source of goods or services.
The purpose of these laws is to give an incentive for people to develop creative works that benefit society, by ensuring they can profit from their works without fear of misappropriation by others. The whole purpose for creating these laws would be defeated if skilled hackers could simply circumvent any creative process by simply stealing the creative works. The reality is that with modern technology in place, IP theft could not only occur in theory but is an inevitable occurrence for any Company that does not have proper procedures in place.
As mentioned in previous blog posts, the impact of digital forensics on society in recent years cannot be understated. Perhaps the far-reaching implications of digital forensics have never been more evident than in the several days leading up to the 2016 presidential election. As a Company that provides digital forensics, e-Discovery, and data recovery services, Digital Forensic Corporation knows firsthand the process and procedures that are currently being used by the FBI to retrieve, investigate, and report on deleted information.
E-mails document the conspiracy to murder her husband
On Dec. 17, 2000, John Diamond shot and killed Air Force Capt. Marty Theer. "There [was] no direct evidence, no eyewitness evidence. There is no physical evidence. There is no confusion," said Theer's attorney Daniel Pollitt<ref>http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1061742/ </ref> after the conviction. But what prosecutors did have was 88,000 e-mails and instant messages on Theer's computer, including personal ads that Theer had written in 1999, web-mail that she had written in response to those ads, clear evidence of a sexual relationship between Theer and Diamond, and messages documenting the conspiracy to murder Theer's husband. Theer was found guilty on December 3, 2004 of murder and conspiracy and sentenced to life in prison<ref>http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/114276/</ref>.
The law is often said to be formalized, rigid in its formulation and slow to evolve. Advances made in science and technology, now quicker in evolution, seem to always bring new challenges to the legal industry. Technology has clearly changed law enforcement over the last 20 years. It has become an integral part of a police officer’s daily work life, from use of social network sites to keep citizens aware of what is occurring in the community to the use of sophisticated recording devices for undercover operations.
With the advent of new technology in law enforcement, such as the use of digitally recorded video from dashboard mounted cameras in patrol cars or traffic monitoring cameras mounted on poles at public intersections, comes the challenge of preserving captured video of an incident and having it admitted into evidence at a subsequent criminal trial. Similar concerns exist for the use of digitized images from surveillance cameras. These are the more common examples of investigative use of digital video and subsequent evidentiary use. As the technology advances and becomes more accessible to the general public, certain evidentiary concerns need to be considered.
Over the past decade we have become a surveillance society. The events of 9/11 — along with concerns for responding to crime in our communities — have spawned an increase in government and business use of surveillance cameras. Chicago, for instance, has utilized a Department of Homeland Security grant to increase its city surveillance and projects a camera on every street intersection by 2016.
Ask yourself a simple question: “Do I know how to identify the presence of digital evidence in my case?” . And then you should ask another question. “If I overlook the presence of digital evidence, am I doing my job well ? Am I providing the best defence to my client? Am I doing my due diligence? ”
Most solicitors I first spoke to were surprised with the answers they ended up giving themselves. When in doubt, ASK ! Experts are there for solicitors to use them. And the best advice is to ask as early as possible, not let it for the last possible moment.
Here is a small list of possible cases. Can you identify if any of them can use digital forensics to provide evidence that support your client’s position?
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