Rich Melville, Litigation Support Manager for Maynard, Cooper & Gate, PC in Birmingham Alabama wrote an excellent post for Law.com titled “Are Digital Copiers Targets for E-Discovery?” based upon the CBS News report about the fact that images of documents that were copied or scanned were found stored on hard drives of discarded copiers.
After conducting his own research (actually removing the hard drives, obtaining software, etc) he concluded that in the area of e-discovery, that the CBS News report was much ado about nothing. He based this conclusion on the difficulty of parsing out the documents that would be pertinent to the matter being litigated and also the fact that the very nature of a digital copier is to make copies of images that exist in another format, therefore having a corresponding original which can be “discovered”.
That being said, there is still the issue, which has been previously addressed on this blog this past May 2010, that steps should be taken to permanently delete or destroy the hard drives on digital copiers that are being discarded by your Firm. Digital copiers are just as much a data source as a laptop or a server, so keep that in mind when switching out old machines or when the time comes to produce e-Discovery data.