Personal Privacy and Public Disclosure
With the dawn of the information society, more than at any time in the past, vast amounts of information are available to the forensic accounting investigator to search for and provide context to the information relevant to the investigation. In addition to paper documents, information may be stored on myriad devices, such as laptop and desktop computers, networked servers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), cell phones and smartphones, floppy disks, CDs, DVDs, flash drives, voicemail systems, security logs, video recordings, offsite vendor back-up systems, disaster recovery tapes, and so forth. Often-quoted estimates predict that more than 90 percent of an organization's data may be stored electronically.1 In fact, many larger organizations have terabytes2 if not petabytes3 of electronically stored information (ESI) that could potentially be mined in an investigation during the electronic discovery (or e-discovery) process.4
These data often include sensitive information, including personally identifiable information (PII) such as human resource files, home addresses, personal checking and savings accounts, Social Security numbers, and health information. All of this information, whether provided by the employee, held in the company's possession, obtained through an open records request, or purchased from a commercial data reseller, is fodder for the investigator ...