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News & Events


Big Data Doesn’t Mean Big Litigation

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Lane Powell Attorneys Darin Sands and Kristen Tranetzki authored an article in the June issue of Oregon Business magazine titled “Big Data Doesn’t Mean Big Litigation.”  In the article, Sands and Tranetzki discussed the many uses of big data, or the digital information created, disseminated and stored, in businesses of all sizes.  According to Sands and Tranetzki, businesses can process this data to determine insights into customer preferences based on prior purchases or search histories.  The data can be used for everything from estimating the number of shoppers on Black Friday to detecting potential side effects of prescription medications.  However, Sands and Tranetzki also pointed out the potential pitfalls of big data, especially where there is latent litigation risk.

With the exponential increase in data being stored comes the threat that all that data will have to be searched, and potentially produced, if your company becomes involved in litigation or receives a third-party subpoena.  The costs of such efforts can be staggering.  To reduce these costs and associated risks, businesses should carefully assess how and what kinds of big data is being collected and stored (including data provided by and to outside vendors).  And based on this assessment, tailor a written retention policy that goes beyond just paper documents and email, and defines whether and when all types of data should be destroyed.  The policy should both provide for the length of time the data is kept and how it is destroyed.  Employees should receive training on the policy, and regular monitoring should be conducted to ensure compliance.

Read the article (PDF).