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Short Message Data – Where Are We Now?

Jun 17, 2021

At the end of 2019, I authored a blog post “The New Era of Chat Review – The Relativity Short Message Viewer”. Little did I know that less than six months later, a global pandemic would strike, and the world would be plunged into a remote working environment, exponentially increasing the usage of chat collaboration platforms as outlined below:

During the global pandemic, there was a massive uptick in the usage of chat and collaboration application including Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, What's App and WeChat.

At the time I wrote the article, we had just released our first iteration of CDS Convert, providing conversion of data from five platforms – Cellebrite, Slack, Skype, Telegram and Bloomberg – to the Relativity Short Message Format. Eighteen months later, having been propelled by the pandemic, how has CDS Convert developed and where is it headed?

Short Message Data Lessons Learned

During the last 18 months, CDS has seen significant growth, not only in the number of projects encountering short message data, but also in the volume of data being collected for these projects. In 2020, CDS saw a monthly average of 6 million messages converted to RSMF using our proprietary application, CDS Convert. As demand has grown, CDS Convert has developed in the following areas:

  • Supported platforms: CDS Convert now supports conversion from 15 platforms including Microsoft Teams, Magnet Axiom, Google Hangouts and Facebook. During this time, CDS also saw a need from our clients to cater to ticketing systems, including ZenDesk, Freshdesk and Jira, which although not traditional short message data, lend themselves well to the RSMF format.

CDS Convert supports 15 message formats including: Bloomberg, Cellebrite, Facebook, Facebook Workplaces, Freshdesk, Google Hangouts, Hipchat, Jira, Magnet Axiom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype, Telegram, Twitter, ZenDesk

  • Increased unitization options: There is no right or wrong answer to the question “what is a document” when dealing with chat data. Due to the length of time and size of some conversations, we implemented additional ways to unitize data, catering for a multitude of case types and review workflows.
  • Additional reporting: It is hard to make judgments on unitization without insight into your data. CDS Convert now provides reporting early in the process to help facilitate informed decisions which may impact your review.
  • Data culling: Unlike tools that offer limited filtering options, CDS Convert provides additional filtering during conversion to reduce having to host data outside your date range, and to assist in removing personal communications.
  • Compliance review: Responding to client feedback, we’ve provided additional audit information for modern attachments in Microsoft Teams. This information includes tracking the number of attachment versions, who edited the documents and for how long, and whether the documents were downloaded to local storage.
  • Visualizations: We’re leveraging more visualizations within the Relativity platform using custom metadata outside of the traditional RSMF specification. Powerful graphic representations allow our users to successfully understand and navigate very large data sets.

What’s Next for CDS Convert?

CDS continues to develop our software to support more platforms and varying licensing options from those platforms, to provide updates to address additional client requirements, and to improve performance for ever-growing data sets. Alongside our internal development, we continually work with Relativity to help develop and support the latest RSMF features. This includes RSMF v2.0, which will provide additional visualizations within the viewer for read receipts, message direction, and document edits.

Together with the additional functionality for the underlying document format, additional features are to be added to Relativity which will allow our clients to cull their data directly from the document viewer. This will allow users to reduce conversations to only the relevant portions of a conversation, removing the need for large redaction exercises, or the need to utilize custom workflows to cull conversations post processing.

CDS provides a full range of collection and advisory services. To discuss how CDS can assist with Short Message data, contact us for a consultation.

About the Author

<a href="https://cdslegal.com/team/mark-anderson/" target="_blank">Mark Anderson</a>

Mark Anderson

In his role as Director of UK Operations for CDS, Mark Anderson provides project management and expert consulting through all stages of eDisclosure and eDiscovery. Mark works alongside corporate and law firm clients to identify data for collection and advises on best practices for collection of data, data processing, and document review workflows. He has supervised multi-national teams and has experience working on some of the largest, most challenging matters, including cases involving cross-border issues and the application of technology assisted review (TAR). Prior to joining CDS, Mark conducted forensic collections, assisted with data investigations, and served as a project team lead for multiple international legal technology service providers. Mark holds multiple Relativity certifications including Relativity Master and is an Encase Certified Examiner.

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