Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Retrieving Electronic Documents

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Retrieving Electronic Documents

Article excerpt

Electronic evidence often can provide vital information about the activities motives and intent of individuals and businesses. Electronic documents thought to be deleted or lost by the user often can be recovered. In the case of electronic mail, casual and candid correspondence may be frozen in time. Additionally, the background information available with electronic data can provide the footprint necessary to develop the facts of an internal investigation.

Electronic discovery is challenging because relevant information may exist in a variety of locations and forms. Locating, searching and managing electronic evidence requires an understanding of technology beyond that of most experienced computer users. So calling in a computer forensic specialist is recommended. The specialist will have the expertise to properly handle and preserve evidence so that it is admissible in a court of law.

Hired computer forensic specialists can handle many aspects of electronic discovery, including

* Identification of likely sources of relevant information.

* Collection of data, taking care to avoid spoliation.

* Restoration of data to a readable and usable format.

* Examination of data (including concealed or destroyed data).

* Data analysis to determine the extent of fraudulent misconduct.

* Expert testimony

Relevant data may exist in many forms, including the following.

Active data. Viewed through file management programs, active data are readily available and accessible.

Hidden files. Suspects may hide data to thwart an internal investigation. Typically, they rename files to appear as a part of the operating system (with file extensions such as ". …

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