D4 eDiscovery Service Blog
Sep 11
2013

Samsung Smartwatch, Apple iWatch, Google Glass; is eDiscovery ready for wearable technology?By Frank Gorman, Strategic Initiatives

On September 4th, Samsung announced its Galaxy Gear “SmartWatch”. According to Mashable.com , the watch will contain its own camera, 512MB of RAM and 4 GB of storage. Samsung also announced partnerships with major developers such as Evernote and eBay to produce 3rd party apps meant to optimize use of the device. The device, set for release in October, is far from the first piece of wearable technology and it certainly will not be the last. After completing its funding goal in May 2012, the Pebble SmartWatch project proceeded to raise over $10 million in funding on Kickstarter. As if that is not enough evidence of the market for wearable tech, developers entered a lottery for the right to pay $1,500 for a pair of Google Glass specs. The highly anticipated glasses are expected to be available to consumers by the end of 2013.

While these products are only now moving from the public periphery, it is only a matter of time before they begin to cause headaches in litigation. All of the aforementioned devices have a not-insignificant amount of local storage, meaning that the discovery net will have to widen to ensure data is collected from any wearable smart devices that could provide relevant ESI. The Galaxy Gear and Google Glass both have the ability to take pictures, share, post, and create documents more seamlessly than ever, all of which could easily affect litigation. In addition, these products will almost certainly take location tracking to a whole new level. If you have an employee suing for wrongful termination, it would certainly be pertinent to know that, on days they called in sick, their smart watch tracked them at a Cubs game or dancing to “Twist and Shout” in the middle of a parade.

These products, and one can safely assume future ones as well, are set to draw many additional capabilities from a user’s smart phone and their cloud storage services. Files will be sent back to a phone, increasing the importance of mobile discovery. Not only will they contain more relevant ESI, but a smart phone set to sync automatically with a wearable device that has discrepancies between the files found on each could indicate spoliation, whether intended or inadvertent. Litigants must be diligent in discovery when it comes to identifying cloud storage platforms used in conjunction with these devices. Google Glass, for example, will sync photos with Google+, so any case involving relevant ESI collected from the glasses will also certainly require access to a custodian’s Google account, meaning that litigating lawyers must have the technical know-how to appreciate the connections between the two functionalities.

It is safe to say wearable technology will only continue to expand its influence. Rumors of a potential Apple “iWatch” persist, and if confirmation comes with a marketing campaign and strategy as successful as the iPhone and iPad, these devices will rapidly move to the consumer forefront. Litigators need to be prepared for ways in which wearable technology will push eDiscovery even further.

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5 Responses to “Wearable Tech – The Next Source of ESI”

  1. Simon Phoenix says:

    “Google Glass, for example, syncs with Google Drive”

    Glass does not sync with Google Drive.

  2. Frank Gorman says:

    Simon,

    Thanks for your comment. We are posting a revision noting the Glass “will” sync with Google drive. The links below indicate that this capability will soon be available.

    http://www.techradar.com/us/news/video/google-glass-what-you-need-to-know-1078114
    https://support.google.com/plus/answer/1647509?hl=en&rd=1

  3. Simon Phoenix says:

    Frank, thanks for the reply.

    The article you linked to claims that Glass will sync with Drive, this is also false. Does it even make sense to manage files on Glass, how would that work with the existing interface which has no concept of files?

    The second link is about syncing to Google Plus not Google Drive. Glass does sync its photos and videos to Google Plus, maybe this is the source of the confusion. I see this all the time, one article will misstate something, then many other articles will repeat the mistake and all link to the same source article.

    Some Google Glass Explorers have requested that Google release Google Drive Glassware but Google have not done so yet. Google has not even acknowledged this feature request on the Explorer site indicating it is not even on their radar. A developer has released his own unofficial Google Drive Glassware which allows you to send pictures to a folder but I would not call this syncing because it is a manual process for each individual picture.

  4. Frank Gorman says:

    Simon,

    Thanks for the clarification. We have posted a correction.

  5. Simon Phoenix says:

    Two days ago, Glassware called Vodo has been released that allows Google Drive integration with Google Glass.

    http://glassalmanac.com/vodo-new-google-glass-app-added-glassware-directory/2778/

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