Until recently, the idea of digital discovery of electronic communication started and ended with email. We have blogged a lot recently, about other forms of digital communication that could be the subject of regulatory or eDiscovery requests. Last week we got an indication that, more than being related, the law may actually view these different types of communication in the same way.
eDiscovery Scope is Expanding
In a decision in the case of Robinson v Jones Lang LaSalle Americas the court compared the discoverability of social media to that of text messages and email. In terms of digital discovery, the court found “no principled reason to articulate different standards for the discoverability of communications through email, text message, or social media platforms.”
That decision has significant implications for eDiscovery and archiving. While email archiving remains the most important and comprehensive eDiscovery task for businesses, there may be other archive solutions to consider in the future.
If the courts begin to treat text messages and social media in the same way as email, they must become candidates for archiving as well. It’s clear that the scope of digital discovery requests is set to grow over the coming years. With the constant evolution of digital communication, archiving and other digital discovery measures will also need to evolve.
The Perception of Email May Change Too
This also highlights just how vital a good email archiving solution is to a business. As other, less formal, forms of communication become regular fixtures in eDiscovery, the perception of email may change. Email will become the ‘elder statesman’ of the digital discovery process and could begin to carry more weight in legal arguments.
When one side is basing an argument on a tweet, it’s reasonable to assume a business email would be the ideal rebuttal.
Digital discovery and email archiving are evolving concepts. Decisions, like this one, will continue to change the way they operate. As time passes, they could develop changes in perception too.