Metadata: Law Concerns and Requirements

Metadata is said to be information about information. To understand this definition, it would be better to further define it as description about an item. The item it describes could vary from documents, images to the workings of programs and applications.

The uses of metadata have quite many applications. In the case of items or content used in law practitioners, metadata is also very useful especially in maintaining files of documents and communications. Having metadata which are typically stored electronically allows organization, storage and retrieval of files to be easier and faster. Instead of manually coding their files, metadata is produced instead. Things are done faster and more cost effectively.

In some cases though, having the information such those stored in metadata can be quite detrimental to a company. This is so when such information presents damaging evidence against the company or the individual.

In electronic discovery, for instance, the company may be asked to produce data captured in instant messages, emails, chats, and files produced in Microsoft Office. Data from websites, CAD/CAD files and accounting bases could also be needed in court. While metadata cannot be seen in printed or paper form, there might something there that could be damaging to the company.

These are revealed when data is required at its native form. The other party and the court could ask the company to actually submit the data in this format. The company has no other choice but to comply. Should it be found out that the metadata was corrupted or deleted, the company could face sanctions.

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