I ran across a very informative article yesterday on the TechCrunch site. The draw was that it is an article about the popular free online storage site called Dropbox and privacy issues. What surprised me, was that it included a good explanation of “hashing” which I recommend sharing with your case team when it comes up in your next e-discovery project management discussion.
Here’s the article link…
It might help to think of a hash like a fingerprint. Everyone’s fingerprint is unique, but it can’t be used to identify a person unless you already have a record of that person’s fingerprint to compare it to. Likewise, a hash-based DMCA compliance system can’t tell what a file is, unless it’s exactly the same as a file that has received a takedown request.
One of the things I like about this explanation is the graphic used with it to demonstrate how a very simple change will change the entire fingerprint. This is the reason we have both deduplication and NEAR deduplication technology employed in e-discovery processing. You will find information on those terms here.
Hashing often comes up in forensic collection planning discussions and around the topic of metadata.