How I Preserve Website Evidence

The Steps I Take to Preserve Website Evidence at L&A

Sometimes, the content I write for Lowenthal & Abrams crosses boundaries and might be of interest to those who read this site. Today I wrote about how I use a program called I use a program called HtTrack to preserve website evidence.

I use a program called HtTrack to preserve website evidence. Read more about it on L&A's website.

Read more about it on L&A’s website.to preserve websites on the L&A blog. Check it out. 

Comments

  1. Declan McManus says:

    Jennifer,

    Thanks for the – for me – timely and on-point article on preserving web based evidence.
    And if you wouldn’t mind – I have a follow up question on it…
    Where you’re dealing with the websites of others – others who have an interest in scrubbing away certain website claims and quotes – or undergo an honest change over time – and they might be willing to play coy in discovery and deny the existence that was, and avoid providing their archived site data – in any number of claims “it was lost”, “it never existed as you are mistakenly recalling” etc. – and it’s of significant enough relevance to the case and claims…
    Do you know of any effective means of accessing – years later – what had been an open/public website – for the time period that is relevant to the claims?
    I have used a very basic web based free site called waybackmachine.com – and it’s been remarkably productive more than once…
    But there remains more to be found and harvested that it isn’t revealing “cached” pages for.

    Some of my reading indicates that it’s actually “Kroll” and ‘Kroll OnTrack’ who appear the be among the prevailing experts in e-discovery and other web & data related forensics for litigation usage.
    But they’re giant, corporate and likely among the most expensive.

    Do you know of anything lower cost of even free that small firms and pro Se litigants might be able to benefit from in using to access web pages of a bygone era?

    I’m finally into discovery on a case that was originally filed as a Federal action in early 2008 – then re-filed as a State case in NY in late 2009.
    The complaint events and period are in 2007 and 2008 – and various claims and representations of fact that were then seen first hand on some web sites belonging to the defendant and its affiliates… Those would benefit from having hard copies to submit – beyond affidavits testifying to what was read there back then.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks – as always…
    This is a stimulating little community you provide – and I do try to help whenever I feel I can.
    I just had another today – they seem to be almost weekly at times – in person exchange with a Pennsylvanian, as a transplanted NYer – about THEIR eavesdropping/wiretapping recording statutes…
    And it’s almost always the same – including most especially when I am dealing with a person trusted with a vocation in law enforcement – and often with members of the bar…
    And they all seem to have this black & white view about their right to record – or to not be recorded – defaulting to “you CAN record in NY and you CAN’T in PA…”
    Where the law is actually – when you get right down to it – quite narrowly constructed – on that ever present “reasonable expectation of privacy” – and many of the recording situations discussed here are very likely lawfully obtained.
    The thing that disturbs me most is that law enforcement either has it wrong – or is simply deliberately playing a common game of intimidation and manipulation through disinformation – because they know that it is very often them and their kind who benefit most from any system that prohibits recording.
    Where in fact – when one is dealing with anyone discharging a public function – on duty as such – in uniform, etc…. The federal district courts have answered consistently – where those 12 states with the “dual party consent” laws are concerned – The First Amendment to the US Constitution, as well as some other Federal Statutes in USC – are supreme over State and in this case most often, Commonwealth Statutes – and grant clearance for citizens to record any interactions with officials, cops, etc. that they are a party to and in many instances of “on public ground/in public view and earshot or audible from one’s own private property across whatever distance…”.
    I wish more folks knew that.
    It always brings to mind for me a quote that I love – and is of unclear provenance… But it goes like this:
    “Excellence has nothing to fear from observation”
    Just like cops are always heard to say – when trying to coerce “consent” for unreasonable searches… “you should have nothing to worry about/hide if you’re not doing anything wrong” and the like…
    It seems the US has in recent years become flipped upside down with regard to that which is and should be public – versus that which is and should be a right of privacy…
    The business of “the state” was intended by the framers to be transparent and reviewable by the citizenry – on demand in most cases.
    And the individual citizen – though not named and enumerated exactly in the Declaration or Constitution – “privacy” has long been held and upheld under various interpretations of the first 20 or so Amendments, as a thing available to any citizen who desired that where reasonable.
    And now…?
    We live in a time of secret courts and sealed warrants and closed session everything – off the record…
    While the press – formerly our best protector and preserver – “The Fourth Estate” as it long was…
    Has fallen to merely “For The State” – as the carrier pigeon and megaphone for propagandistic mis and disinformation campaigns in “press releases” – that don’t get or aren’t allowed to – any sort of clarification or follow up questioning.
    Even when on its face the message can hardly pass the laugh test – even for the lesser sophisticated members of the audience at large.
    Now each citizen must now live with the ubiquitous and perpetual collection of all their data – and then expected to show no resistance to it when the probing goes beyond hovering and into something more akin to alien abduction anal probing stories.
    And if you offer up any voice of protest for it – get ready to be placed on some lists – and spend the rest of forever getting the fine-tooth comb version of what everyone is already getting.

    For me, the single most horrifying part of it all – isn’t that they want to do it – try to – and accomplish it often.
    The grab for power – historically – in what began as democratic and Constitutional republics with solidly constructed personal liberty language – then degrade into a creeping from of fascism…
    That is both predictable and of no surprise.
    Past is – as they say – prologue…
    But that so very few are either informed about it – to know when the line is being unreasonably and unlawfully crossed into their realm – or where the few do – only a small percentage of them have the stones and/or principles to put up any fight against it…
    That they – the great grey masses – have for so long – become increasingly surrendered to so many bad ideas and falsehoods – utterly forfeit their own most valuable and irrevocable reversals once those are accomplished by state powers…
    That they simply bent over and let it happen without any fight.
    That stands as the really terrifying truth.
    And is precisely why I will be leaving the Unites Stated for Western Europe – just as soon as I finish up the aforementioned case – about to cross into its 9th year of litigation.

    In any event…
    My two cents – or for me – mein zwei pfennig.

    Regards & thanks again and in advance…

    Decco

    • Thank you, Decco. I enjoy your participation. Aside from the wayback machine, I don’t know of any free/low cost options. Most of the time people change their websites right on site, so they don’t generally tend to keep the content. If the people are using wordpress, it automatically saves older versions, so you could look into getting that in discovery. During discovery, I would focus on questions that get into whether they keep old versions of their sites. I know some excellent forensics folks, but I don’t believe they would be low cost, of course, depending on how much you would need and the involvement.

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