Optical character recognition (OCR) is one of the most important stages of e-discovery or cyber forensics process. OCR is the process where images of handwritten, typewritten or printed text are converted into machine-encoded text using the mechanical or electronic conversion.
The main purpose of OCR is to digitise printed texts so that they can be electronically searched, stored more compactly, displayed on-line through virtual data rooms, and used in machine processes such as machine translation, text-to-speech and text mining. OCR is also very important for presenting and defending claims and obligations in civil and criminal proceedings.
OCR, e-discovery and cyber forensics are sometimes combined while investigating financial frauds and crimes, serious frauds, forensics audit, white collor crimes, corporate frauds, fraud risk analysis, IT and cyber frauds, etc.
However, there are certain techno legal issues that must be taken care of while engaging in the OCR activities. If these techno legal issues are not followed properly, the end OCR product may not be admissible in a court of law or other investigation.
Further, only relevant material must be converted into legally admissible electronic records, including OCR. A proper chain of custody must be maintained at all stages of converting printed and other text documents into digital documents and OCR.
There is no sense in converting the entire paper based document s in to electronic format as not all electronic versions would be relevant to the case or investigation. Even lesser electronic records and OCR would be held admissible in a court of law.
According to Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) the most important attribute while engaging in the OCR exercise meant for litigation purposes is to first ascertain the relevant documents and then convert them into digital format keeping in mind the admissibility criteria while following proper chain of custody.