The 2017 AccessData User Summit opening keynote address kicked off the week of activities with an intriguing question, “AI is here, are you ready?” Matt Coatney, VP of Services for Exaptive and an expert in the field of AI, explained that AI is no longer a futuristic concept relegated to science fiction hobbyists. In just 30 short years, AI has revolutionized industries from healthcare, law enforcement, manufacturing and even how we shop for clothes!
“The legal services industry is hurtling headlong into a revolution in the way that we carry out virtually every aspect of our jobs,” said Coatney. “The introduction of AI is not just an extension of prior technologies. AI holds the potential to dramatically change the field in a variety of ways, from reducing bias in investigations to challenging what evidence is considered admissible.” Dave Copp, CEO of Brainspace and our premier sponsor, shared the same sentiment. His address to the audience discussed the emergence of new software tools to improve data analytics so we’re able to better visualize what’s inside the data we collect.
With the tone set for a thought-provoking week, attendees moved on to attend a wide range of educational sessions, basic and advanced, in Digital Forensics, Mobile, Incident Response and Legal tracks. Best practice sessions invited lively conversation and networking on topics that included better collaboration between legal and IT, the need for centralized networks and the impact on global judicial rule changes, to name just a few.
Chris Dale, founder of the eDisclosure Information Project, and Judge Andrew Peck, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of New York, in their keynote session on day two discussed in depth the serious impact of technology on efficient data investigations. My favorite comment was when Judge Peck pointed out that one should not assume that judges themselves have a full understanding of all the rules affecting investigations both here and abroad. Judge Peck, arguably one of the most ardent magistrates of technology changes, claimed to have been a victim himself when he wrongly advised an attorney on an issue of cross-border discovery and was soundly corrected. His advice? Don’t assume judges know everything—they don’t. You need to educate them as appropriate.
As digital investigations and litigation management challenges continue to grow in scale and complexity, the traditional lines between forensics and e-discovery have become blurred, making it more important to seamlessly link the process of data collection with the end-to-end e-discovery life cycle. Ed McAndrew, partner at Ballard Spahr, addressed this topic in his keynote as he discussed the emerging themes in mobile and cloud applications. “We’re living in a digital world that is weaponizing devices,” McAndrew stated, “and hackers are really good at counterintelligence.”
There was a fascinating session on the closing day of the conference that brought the entire week of conversations to a head and illustrated the serious impact of technology on efficient data investigations. Moderated by Chris Dale, the discussion focused on “Where E-Discovery and Forensics Meet: The Need for Collaboration to Be Compliant with Ever-Increasing Rules.” Dale was joined by a group of prestigious panelists: Judge Andrew Peck, Ed McAndrew, Chad McManamy and Michael Bandemer of Berkeley Research Group, and Alexander Poelma, Program Manager for the Fiscal Information and Investigation Service of the Netherlands (FIOD).
“The best technical explanations come with a good story attached, and the Berkeley team had a story involving shadow volume copies,” said Dale. “It raised interesting questions about competence in e-discovery and, specifically, about the difference between data which is genuinely inaccessible and/or has been destroyed, and data which is lurking but which has not been identified. The upshot of the tale they told was an e-discovery sanctions hearing resulting in sanctions in the sum of an excess of $7 million.”
This challenge of linking data collection during the digital forensics workflow to the end-to-end e-discovery management workflow is at the heart of everything we do at AccessData. During various product demonstrations and information sessions throughout the Summit, AccessData professionals illustrated our efforts to harness the power of forensics to bring our customers faster insights and better results, delivering data integrity they can trust.
Our clients are faced with case backlogs, enormous data sizes, and a rapidly changing array of regulatory requirements in the U.S., EU and around the world. The 2017 AccessData User Summit presented a unique opportunity for professionals who use our products to take their investigative expertise to the next level, with interactive sessions and hands-on workshops to learn new techniques that address their challenges.