Electronic discovery (also e-discovery or ediscovery) refers to discovery in legal proceedings such as litigation, government investigations, or Freedom of Information Act requests, where the information sought is in electronic format (often referred to as electronically stored information or ESI). Electronic discovery is subject to rules of civil procedure and agreed-upon processes, often involving review for privilege and relevance before data are turned over to the requesting party.
Electronic information is considered different from paper information because of its intangible form, volume, transience and persistence. Electronic information is usually accompanied by metadata that is not found in paper documents and that can play an important part as evidence (e.g. the date and time a document was written could be useful in a copyright case). The preservation of metadata from electronic documents creates special challenges to prevent spoliation. In the United States, electronic discovery was the subject of amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), effective December 1, 2006, as amended on December 1, 2015. In addition, state law now frequently also addresses issues relating to electronic discovery. Other jurisdictions around the world also have rules relating to electronic discovery, including Part 31 of the Civil Procedure Rules in England and Wales.
F.A.Q. about eDiscovery
What is eDiscovery?
eDiscovery, or electronic discovery, is the process used by organizations to find, preserve, analyze, and package electronic content (often referred to as electronically stored information or ESI) for a legal request or investigation.
How does eDiscovery work in Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, and Lync?
The eDiscovery Center is a SharePoint site collection where cases are defined, sources to be tracked are identified, holds on content are placed or removed, queries are issued, and results reviewed and exported.
Some key features of the SharePoint eDiscovery Center are:
- Manage Cases - An eDiscovery administrator or user creates, manages and uses eDiscovery cases through the eDiscovery Center (EDC).
- Work with Multiple Types of Content: Preserve, search, and export documents, email messages, OneNote files, webpages, community posts, microblogs, Lync IMs, and more, providing they are crawled indexed by search.
- Identify Content Sources: Content sources that might be relevant, such as e-mail messages and documents, are added to one or more collections of source content called eDiscovery Sets.
- Perform In-Place Hold: A copy of the content can be preserved in-place and in real time, while people continue to work on the original content.
- Create and Run Queries: Enable you to get relevant content and statistics quickly to help you answer questions fast.
- Export Content: After you review your results, relevant content can be transferred out of the system into an offline and portable format.
Exchange In-Place holds enable you to place mailboxes content on hold indefinitely, based on a query, or based on a time period. Key features include:
- Place user mailboxes on hold and preserve mailbox items immutably Jump.
- Preserve mailbox items deleted by users or automatic deletion processes such as messaging records management (MRM).
- Use query-based In-Place Hold to search for and retain items matching specified criteria.
- Preserve items indefinitely or for a specific duration.
- Place a user on multiple holds for different cases or investigations.
- No user impact – In-Place Hold is transparent to users.
- In-Place eDiscovery searches include items placed on hold.