There are hidden digital trails that are related to computers. Metadata is essentially data about data. It offers us identifying information about a bundle of data that people use. In many cases, any changes are recorded and this allows investigators and attorneys to use them for the court proceeding, especially for cases related to digital crime. Lawyers should also know more about metadata, because it can be used for or against their clients. Metadata is digital information that can provide an insight to improper, deceitful, fraudulent or criminal acts in the last. In many countries, there are still no clear legal rules about how metadata can and can’t be used. However, it is something that can help us find specific indications. On the other hand, many computers users are still unaware of the existence of metadata and its significance. However, people who understand how metadata can be used against them may try to scrub it. Any reasonable attorney and lawyer should include the examination of metadata in their checklists during the preparation for court proceeding.
Unfortunately, things can be rather complicated, because some criminals can be technologically savvy and they may also have taken steps to cover their digital tracks. Also, attorneys and lawyers can be restricted by the fact that checking metadata on some files can be a breach on privacy. They may reveal trade secrets and confidential remarks about something. Even if legal professional do encounter legitimate metadata, they still need to do cross examination, to make sure that it’s not tampered. To avoid complicating the court proceeding, attorneys and lawyers should make sure that they are allowed to access the metadata and publish the results to the public. Both legal professionals should be aware that improper access could cause injuries to the clients. The damage caused by improper access and publication of metadata can be far-reaching, if these files are crucial enough. Business operations of a company can be threatened and privacy of an individual can be divulged to the public. In fact, it may be possible for legal professionals to get sued by any party who find that they suffer from specific losses caused by this method of legal investigation.
Metadata has been used extensively for investigation purposes. As an example, it could determine the originality of a picture. If the picture is edited or tampered, it will be shown in the metadata. This also applies to other kinds of files. We will be able to know things that someone has added in the past and when. Because digital investigation is increasingly more important, many legal professionals employ or work with people who know how to examine digital files for their metadata. All the technical intricacy related to metadata could be beyond the scope of ordinary attorney and lawyer, but it is important for them to use the hidden information to strengthen their cases. Although it’s fair to review metadata, it is also important to be careful with this method and try to determine whether the information is accurate enough.