Monday, March 18, 2013

HDFC Bank Must Follow Sound E-Discovery And Cyber Forensics Procedure To Avoid Legal Liability

It has been reported by media reports that the HDFC Bank has hired services of private players for Forensics and Legal Audit of its affairs. At Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) we strongly believe that although this may be good intended yet it may bring “Unforeseen Legal Challenges”.

As the allegations against these Banks are serious and Criminal in nature, there is numerous Data of Evidence that must be “Kept Intact” by these Banks. If these Data, including Digital and Electronic Data, Changes, Access or Manipulated, it may “Draw an Adverse Inference” by the Investigating Authorities and Courts against these Banks. It may also amount to “Destruction of Evidence” by these Banks hence further Offence(s).

Although HDFC has declared that this Forensics and Legal Audit Process has been initiated without prejudice to the authentication of the video recordings or electronic data yet this is stand is difficult to prove in a Court of Law.

Actually it is the fault of the Investigating Agencies and Indian Government that have failed to take appropriate and immediate action in this regard. If the Investigation Agencies had acted “Expeditiously”, Crucial Digital Evidence would have already been placed “On Hold”.

It is also high time to spread Awareness about and ensure necessary Techno Legal Skills Development for Cyber Law of India, Digital Evidencing, E-Discovery Procedure in India and Cyber Forensics Application to various Civil and Criminal cases in India. Till now this Awareness is missing and Investigation Authorities and Courts are not insisting upon holding the Crucial Digital Evidence.

 A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been pending before the Supreme Court of India to ask Indian Government to prescribe Regulations and Guidelines for Effective Investigation of Cyber Crimes in India. This is also a good opportunity for the Supreme Court and Indian Government to take care of Paper Evidence Scanning and E-Discovery Legal Issues in India and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Legal Issues India.  

We would come up with further report on this issue very soon.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Paper Evidence Scanning And E-Discovery Legal Issues In India

India is in the process of providing of electronic delivery of services to Indian citizens. Further, there is also a shift in electronic financial transactions in India whether it pertains to Internet banking or mobile banking. Additional challenges would also arise due to this digital revolution in India.

E-discovery services in India have become essential due to growing dependence upon electronic services in India. Further, white collor crimes, financial frauds, IT and cyber frauds, forensics accounting and auditing and risk management have further increased the scope of e-discovery services in India.

In e-discovery and OCR procedure, the role of a technology lawyers and ICT law firm is very important. No organisation or individual engaged in the e-discovery or ODR process can afford to engage in a limitless exercise. We at Perry4Law and PTLB believe that any e-discovery and OCR exercise must be primarily guided by relevancy, proper chain of custody and admissibility criteria in all circumstances. This is more so when litigation is an option.

In e-discovery and OCR procedure, data is identified as potentially relevant by lawyers/law firm and placed on legal hold. Evidence is then extracted and analysed using legally acceptable cyber forensic procedures. This includes the stages of identification, preservation, collection, processing, review and production.

These issue must be properly managed as per the techno legal requirements existing in India otherwise the adduced information, documents and evidence may not be relevant and admissible in the court of law.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Legal Issues India

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. 

If you are interested in our techno legal services, you may contact us in this regard. See our techno legal services, cyber forensics services, US, UK and EU laws compliances, etc in this regard.