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The Prosecution Calls Your Smartphone to the Stand

Or Bring-Your-Own-Defendant

A very real legal situation is brewing in the wake of the bring your own device phenomena. eDiscovery. You might be familiar with some of the various legal or liability issues that should be addressed with a BYOD policy, like privacy, the loss of personal information, working overtime or the fact that financial responsibility may dictate legal obligation.

Now, technology law experts are saying that if your company is involved in litigation, criminal or civil, personal mobile devices that were used for work email or other company activity, could be confiscated and examined for evidence as part of the investigation or discovery process.  So if you use your personal smartphone for work-related activities and your company is involved in a lawsuit, there may come a point where the court might subpoena your phone to see what relevant evidence might be contained. During litigation, the organization itself may have the legal obligation to sift through your mobile device for related information. If sued, companies are required to make a good-faith effort to retrieve data – where ever that may be.  That includes your email, GPS history, text messages, cell phone records, social media accounts, pictures and any other info that could be pertinent to the case.  This is proprietary company owned data that resides on my personally owned device.  This is especially true of your corporate email co-mingles with your personal email – meaning delivered through the same email app or program.  In fact, according to this article, a judge recently sanctioned a company for a discovery violation because it did not search the BYOD devices during discovery.

Some people seem to lose all sense of daily human functioning when social networks like Facebook, Twitter and others are unavailable for a short period of time.  We’ve become so attached to our mobile devices and they have become the center of our lives…imagine not having that pacifier for a few days.  OMG, I’ve time-traveled the 1980′s and have no way of announcing it to the world!!  What am I going to do now that I can’t re-tweet that funny cat picture!  I’m so lost without you, oh electronic appendage.

As more organizations embrace or even require BYOD in the workplace, it becomes even more critical to be able to separate personal and work profiles.  It is important that the corporate data and apps do not mingle with the already present personal data.  Solutions like F5′s Mobile App Manager provides a fully enclosed virtual enterprise workspace and creates a secure footprint on the device for enterprise data and access only.  MAM allows organizations to safely separate personal data and usage from corporate oversight and controls how employees access key corporate information.

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More Stories By Peter Silva

Peter Silva covers security for F5’s Technical Marketing Team. After working in Professional Theatre for 10 years, Peter decided to change careers. Starting out with a small VAR selling Netopia routers and the Instant Internet box, he soon became one of the first six Internet Specialists for AT&T managing customers on the original ATT WorldNet network.

Now having his Telco background he moved to Verio to focus on access, IP security along with web hosting. After losing a deal to Exodus Communications (now Savvis) for technical reasons, the customer still wanted Peter as their local SE contact so Exodus made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. As only the third person hired in the Midwest, he helped Exodus grow from an executive suite to two enormous datacenters in the Chicago land area working with such customers as Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone, uBid, Orbitz, Best Buy and others.

Bringing the slightly theatrical and fairly technical together, he covers training, writing, speaking, along with overall product evangelism for F5’s security line. He's also produced over 200 F5 videos and recorded over 50 audio whitepapers. Prior to joining F5, he was the Business Development Manager with Pacific Wireless Communications. He’s also been in such plays as The Glass Menagerie, All’s Well That Ends Well, Cinderella and others. He earned his B.S. from Marquette University, and is a certified instructor in the Wisconsin System of Vocational, Technical & Adult Education.