Electronic Discovery sometimes referred as e-discovery, e-discovery, eDiscovery, or e-Discovery is the electronic aspect of identifying, collecting and producing electronically stored information in response to a request for production in a law suit or investigation. Electronically stored information includes, but is not limited to, emails, documents, presentations, databases, voice-mail, audio and video files, social media, and web sites.
The goal of Electronic Discovery is exactly the same as the standard discovery process: to collect, sort, safely store and share information collected as essential case evidence.
Electronic discovery differs from the process of retrieving ordinary documents for lawsuits, because legal teams have to overcome some unique challenges:
Data is stored in huge volumes, so the data extraction process can take a long time.
Archives may not be well organized, so De-duplication may be required to ensure that only one copy of each relevant document is presented.
Electronic documents contain important meta-data, such as times or locations, which need to be extracted and preserved in their original state.
All documents have to be stored securely, so they can be reviewed by legal teams without the possibility that they will be tampered with.
The authenticity of information is verified by the chain of custody. This is essentially an audit trail that notes how the evidence was stored, transmitted, and handled. The person who originally held the file is called the custodian.