A Light in the Dark: Protecting PII in Ediscovery

65% of ediscovery projects contain at least one document with the XXX-XX-XXXX number format. Accidentally disclosing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) could lead to a messy discovery process and costly penalties. Do you know how to best protect PII in ediscovery?

What is PII?

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any information about an individual maintained by an organization that can distinguish, trace or link to that individual.  This can include anything as benign as a person’s full name to confidential medical, educational, financial and employment information or a social security number.

What’s at Risk in Ediscovery?

While the threat of identity theft looms over individuals who fail to safeguard their personal information, litigation teams are in a unique position. They must be the safeguard that ensures opposing counsel doesn’t accidentally receive confidential medical records, social security numbers or other PII during the discovery process. In a perfect scenario, all PII would be redacted prior to production, but with exponentially increasing volumes of data, PII becomes increasingly at risk of being unintentionally compromised in litigation. If an inadvertent disclosure occurs, a legal team may face sanctions.

Assisted Redaction: A Sophisticated Solution

At a basic level, the manual redaction process completely removes targeted content from an electronic document, making it irretrievable and unavailable for view, print, search or copy.  Building beyond manual redaction, ediscovery platforms can utilize an automated approach to identifying, verifying and applying user-defined redactions to maximize efficiency in a process known as “assisted redaction.” The assisted redaction application, featured in Kroll Ontrack’s Relativity offering, provides users with full control to review, approve or reject each applied redaction across an entire data collection workspace or subset of data. Assisted redaction streamlines the manual redaction process, reducing the risk of inadvertent disclosure while allowing counsel to quickly and correctly apply user-defined redactions throughout the data.

A Light in the Dark

The ediscovery process may put PII at risk when not carefully managed, but much of that risk can be alleviated when paired with a strong legal team and savvy technology. Shine some light on PII  protection in ediscovery before watching Kroll Ontrack’s new video to learn more about assisted redaction and other new capabilities within Kroll Ontrack’s Relativity offering.

On the topics of ediscovery and technology’s role in the law, Michele is among the nation’s most knowledgeable experts. Most notably, she co-authored the American Bar Association book, titled "Electronic Evidence and Discovery: What Every Lawyer Should Know." Fully knowledgeable in Legal Technology solutions and trends, she delivers thoughtful information through blogs, newsletters, webinars, videos and podcasts.

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