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October 02, 2012

Big Data Technology

Data_stream400Incident to the cover story for the October 1 issue of Law Technology News, "Defending Big Data," we sent a request for information to vendors who attended LegalTech New York 2012 and asked them if their products or services addressed the tension that exists in mining, exploiting, and monetizing customer data versus the security and privacy of that data.

I summarized some of the responses in the story "Big Data Technology." For the most part, the responses showed that legal technology was focused on Big Data to extract evidence used in litigation and government investigation and not to address the privacy and security interests in the large data sets owned by enterprises. The software manufacturers that predominantly handle enterprise Big Data, e.g., IBM, Oracle, and SAP, do not apply the same wares to e-discovery and litigation support -- yet.

I found it interesting that, to some, the definition of business "record" handled by records managers is expanding to incorporate content that may be applicable to future legal or litigation holds. And to identify such content, predictive algorithms that apply information from past litigation and custodians involved in multiple law suits may be put to use. As Robert Miller of the Rise Advisory Group indicates, there is a growing interest among corporate buyers to understand and manage Big Data that provides an opportunity to move data classification processes to the far left of the Electronic Discovery Reference Model, using machine learning to classify and organize data into predefined business use cases near the point of creation. Then, says Miller, organizations can proactively manage information for "retention, security, audit, legal, and business intelligence purposes."

So far, the requirements to preserve evidence have not gone beyond a reasonable expectation of litigation. But that's not to say that one day "reasonable expectations" may be defined by predictive algorithms.

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