There was a TV cop show in the 1950’s and 1960’s called Dragnet, with a no-nonsense character named Sergeant Joe Friday, who when interviewing a witness in an investigation would keep the interview subject from providing unimportant details by stating “just the facts, ma’am”. Back in those days, law enforcement investigations were done with a lot of interviews, compiling facts, witness accounts, and so forth. There was a limit to what cops could do in those days to solve crimes – as a result, a lot of crimes weren’t solved and became cold cases.
Today, technology has revolutionized law enforcement investigations. We leave DNA everywhere we go, which puts perpetrators at the scene of the crime. Even if a perpetrator hasn’t previously committed a crime that required them to provide DNA, they can still be identified through genealogy matches of family members. Not to mention that we all carry a mobile phone that tracks every location to which we travel and there are surveillance cameras in most business and (via Ring cameras) at many homes as well (those same mobile phone devices are portable surveillance cameras too). Even our vehicles and watches track our movements these days and suspects are being identified or exonerated based on their digital trail. Not only are the crimes of today being solved more easily, but many cold cases (some several decades old) also are being solved as well. Technology has revolutionized law enforcement investigations.
Leveraging Technology to Support Corporate Investigations
Technology has revolutionized corporate investigations as well. Gone are the days of going through paper files to find evidence to prove fraud or to defend again fraud allegations. There is no “paper trail” anymore, it’s an electronic trail that is getting more voluminous as the amount of data in organizations is doubling as frequently as every 1.2 years.
Unlike physical evidence associated with law enforcement investigations, corporate investigations are primarily about data. Understanding transactions, communications between parties and other patterns and doing so quickly within increasingly large data sets is the key to meeting your investigation goals. And you can’t meet those goals without leveraging technology and working with a team that knows how to get the most out of that technology. Here are two examples of technology solutions that can be leveraged to support corporate investigations:
Brainspace: When you’re trying to cut through large volumes of data quickly, you need a variety of analytical tools to make smarter, faster, and more informed decisions. You need the ability to identify key concepts within the data and how they relate to other key concepts to identify data patterns. You need to identify what parties are communicating with each other, how often they’re communicating and if they’re communicating in other ways (such as personal email addresses to hide their communications). You need to use the identification of important documents to lead you to other similar documents that may be just as important.
Brainspace provides capabilities such as Supervised Learning, Textual Deduplication, Email Thread Identification, Concept Search, Communications Analysis, Search Visualization, Foreign Language Detection to identify the information critical to your investigation quickly (even if that information is within terabytes of potentially unimportant information) – within days, not weeks or months.
Relativity Fact Manager: Fact Manager within Relativity assists in organizing and analyzing details related to your investigation such as facts, issues, organizations, people, interview questions, and documents. Using Fact Manager, you can track those details right within the same workspace holding your document collection in Relativity. Then, as you review potentially important documents, you can create new facts or other pieces of information and link them to documents within Relativity on-the-fly.
Tracking the facts and allegations of the investigation and linking them to the electronic evidence stored in Relativity – with an ability to generate a summary report with links to those documents – enables you to lay out the strengths and weaknesses of the investigation and plan accordingly.
These are just two terrific examples of how technology is being leveraged to support investigations today. But just like law enforcement has needed to rely on specialized expertise to leverage the technology tools they use to solve criminal cases today; you need specialized expertise to fully leverage these great solutions to meet your corporate investigation goals. Investigations are still about “just the facts, ma’am”, but getting to those facts quickly and efficiently is impossible today without leveraging technology and the expertise to maximize the benefit of that technology.
For a case study example regarding how Compliance leveraged technology to help defend a client against a white collar crime investigation, click here.