changed the pattern of peoples’ lives worldwide, and it has faced the legal
profession with its own unique set of challenges. Not only must the justice
system pivot to remote working, but it must also deal with a backlog of pre-coronavirus
cases – as well as addressing a surge of fraud investigations arising directly
from the pandemic.
are high. Americans have lost an estimated $77 million to COVID-19
to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Scammers across the globe have swooped
like vultures onto this unprecedented opportunity to steal funds and data on a
vast scale, targeting federal relief funds, stimulus checks and unemployment
benefits. Phishing attempts include fake medical testing to steal data, and at
the other end of the scale there is straightforward but outrageous price
gouging on everything from consumer necessities to personal protection items. The
FTC website highlights many other fraud types on
its Scams pages.
The CARES Act – and other legislation providing trillions of dollars in
emergency loans and spending to combat the economic impact of COVID-19 — has
laid the groundwork for increased fraud investigations and enforcement actions
related to COVID-19 stimulus. The U.S.
Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Division has recently announced plans to use
the False Claims Act to address fraudulent or false claims associated with
COVID-19 relief spending, including Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. Inevitably,
this points towards an increase in investigations, and also towards a more technology-driven approach to managing investigations.
investigations require some major adjustments to process, which has driven some
rapid innovation in how we deliver the FRONTEO solutions. We see, for example,
that legal teams must account for the many different data sources that
companies and their employees are using to facilitate remote working. And then there are challenges for data preservation, particularly
with devices, media and documents held in different locations. Security is a
significant issue. Employment law and data privacy risks must also be managed.
With network data, where external data collectors cannot travel to site, data
must either be collected by granting external providers access to systems or by
remote supervision. Plus, attorneys must bear in mind, as they remotely
review emails and other personal data that is stored in another jurisdiction,
that this could trigger data privacy issues because it could technically be
considered to be a data export.
Legal teams must do all in their power to ensure they can preserve and
collect data remotely. The DOJ requires companies to ensure that communications
sent over instant messaging applications are retained and retrievable in the
event of an investigation. Legal teams that fail to do so could be prohibited
from receiving full credit for timely and appropriate remediation in a DOJ
challenges, yes – but not insurmountable. At FRONTEO we’re helping to address these problems
in various ways. We have the
ability to “collect” smartphone data via the custodian’s cloud backup,
delivering a remote solution to cell phone collections – long a hurdle in our
industry. Our Self Collection Kits, pre-formatted hard drives which come with a small
executable, allow the custodian to perform a forensically sound forensic
collection of their hard drives which is then returned to us or analysis.
correct tools has an even more critical impact on investigations when the
review teams are not in the same physical location. Analytics and AI-powered
search engines such as Fronteo’s
KIBIT are today among
the most strategic and effective tools for attorneys conducting investigations
remotely. They enable litigators to sort through
thousands of pages of discovery documents in a fraction of the time required
for traditional database search, gain strategic insights into their cases, and
answer questions with speed, accuracy and confidence.
document review on critical litigations to continue, at the onset of the
coronavirus crisis we migrated our Fronteo
Managed Review Service
operations in the United States to a work-from-home solution. Based
on Google Cloud, the world’s largest, most reliable and secure cloud network,
it allows our attorneys to work virtually and includes deeper security measures
such as IP tracking, activity monitoring and a locked-down system that prevents
the saving or printing of data. Additionally, we have staff dedicated to monitoring
remote review attorney activities so that we can ensure ongoing support for
clients and their projects.
working likely to remain the norm for the foreseeable future, attorneys have to
find ways to continue to operate securely and efficiently while doing the best
they can to protect public health and safety. Across the nation, it is becoming
evident that legal teams who have embraced these new technologies are able to
move at unprecedented speeds and efficiencies to bring COVID-19 fraudsters to
justice and continue with other critical litigation investigations. AI-driven
managed review is just one such way in which the ‘remote’ future of litigation
is becoming today’s reality.