Like many, I attended LegalTech Jan. 31 – Feb. 2 and enjoyed catching up with old friends while seeing new, emerging technologies. Did you see the car forensics kit being offered by Berla? That was pretty cool and something I am definitely going to keep an eye on. One of the things I always enjoy is the post-LegalTech articles. Everyone talking about what they saw, what caught their eye, and where they think the legal technology world is heading. I was really looking this year for anything related to the internet of things (IoT), especially with Alexa making the news recently as an eyewitness to murder. Of course, there’s also the pacemaker that recently provided critical evidence in an arson investigation, and Fitbits are becoming notorious for impugning eyewitness accounts. Our devices aren’t only spying on us; they’re turning state’s evidence!
I will say that I was a little disappointed I didn’t see more IoT technologies, but some of the articles that came out afterward certainly caught my attention. Many were talking about IoT data and how difficult and expensive it is to get, use and turn into legal arguments. This surprised me. We (iDS) just finished up a case where we had IoT data, alongside more traditional, structured data, and we were able to turn it around for a very little amount of effort and cost. By that I mean under two months from initial engagement to the plaintiffs’ voluntarily walking away from the case, and at a cost that was a tiny fraction of the potential exposure to our client. Our client was lucky that the data in that case was in their favor but, regardless, isn’t it better to know the answer up-front and negotiate from a position of knowledge, rather than ignorance?
With the right tools, the right team and the right strategy, IoT data can be leveraged for much less than many attorneys assume. Yes, it’s new. Yes, it’s obscure. Yes, it’s daunting to those who haven’t worked with it. But it’s not cost-prohibitive if done right, and it can literally make the difference between long, drawn-out litigation with murky, disputed facts, or a quick and clean settlement based on a clear and concise factual record.
Charlie Platt is a director at iDiscovery Solutions and a Certified Ethical Hacker. He advises clients on data analytics, digital forensics, and cybersecurity.