eDiscovery Daily Blog
Craig Ball’s Wayback Machine and Look at the Mueller Report: eDiscovery Best Practices
Some weeks there is so much to cover in eDiscovery that it’s difficult to get to everything. This is one of those weeks. Like me, several of you are fans of Rob Robinson’s quarterly eDiscovery Business Confidence Survey on his Complex Discovery blog and he has just published the results of his Spring 2019 Survey, which are very interesting and I will (hopefully) post my normal analysis on that tomorrow. But, Craig Ball has posted – not just one, but two – interesting posts on his Ball in Your Court blog this week that definitely need to be covered as well. “Ball” comes before “Robinson” alphabetically, so I’ll cover his posts first. ;o)
In Craig’s post Storage Media: Long Past Herman Hollerith, he gives a terrific history lesson on storage media – all the way back to the old punch card storage and tabulation technologies Herman Hollerith used to revolutionize the 1890 U.S. census. That same punch card technology was adopted by used for close to, if not more than, 100 years. My first computer programming course (does anybody remember Fortran?) at Baylor in the early 1980s was on an IBM System 3 (link to a picture of that system here) with the old punch card technology that we used to “write” our programs on. Each card was a single line of code and you had to keep the cards in order for the program to run correctly – you’ll never see a more devastated look on a person than when they drop their punch card deck of several hundred cards and realize there is no way to put them back in order (thankfully, that wasn’t me).
Craig jumped from punch cards to 3.5-inch floppy disks commonly used from the mid-1980s to early 2000s which held 1.44MB (about 13,653 IBM cards worth of data). In comparison to today’s world, as Tom O’Connor and I discussed in yesterday’s webcast, by next year, about 1.7MB of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet.
In between were 8-inch and 5 1/4-inch floppy disks (which were truly “floppy”) that held a lot less storage (I know because I used both). As Craig notes, you can now get a 1-terabyte drive for about $50, which is the equivalent of about ten billion IBM cards. And, a 30-TB LTO-8 backup tape cartridge is approximately the equivalent of 305 billion IBM cards. Yikes!
Oh, and by the way, the Georgetown Law Center eDiscovery Training Academy is coming up in less than a month! More to come on that in an upcoming post.
In Craig’s post, Mueller? Mueller? More E-Discovery Lessons from Bill and Bob (get the 80’s movie reference, there?), he uses the Robert Mueller report just released to compare the common practice of “fixing” the content of a document by printing the file to a static image format like TIFF or PDF to “the way we speak of ‘fixing’ a cat; that is, cutting its balls off.” Ouch! And, Craig notes that he’s written about this extensively elsewhere (including his excellent Lawyers’ Guide to Forms of Production). But, the best part of his post (other than the humor, of course – I won’t steal his thunder here), is his discussion of native redaction and the move a dozen years ago by Microsoft to Open XML (Extensible Markup Language) for Office files (which is why Office file extensions have an “X” at the end – e.g., DOCX, XLSX, etc.). And, you get to find out where the “PK” in PKZIP came from! Excellent stuff!
So, why don’t we redact natively instead of sticking to “dumbing down” file formats to TIFF, then OCRing them, then redacting them? As Craig asks, “Mueller, Mueller?”
By the way, speaking of the Mueller report, our friends at Complete Legal have made it available in a CloudNine Review database. Can’t believe I haven’t mentioned THAT before now! You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to request access to the report and really search and examine it in detail. Even if the report does represent a cat with no balls. ;o)
So, what do you think? Have you ever redacted documents natively? As always, please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
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