Dan Baldwin 2013-12-27 11:59:03
“My greatest pleasure is finding the smoking gun,” says Scott Greene, founder and manager of Evidence Solutions, Inc., an Arizona-based firm specializing in the acquisition, recovery, and analysis of data as evidence, and in providing court testimony on that evidence. “Explaining Evidence in Plain English” As an example of a smoking gun, Greene cites a recent patent dispute case in California in which the plaintiff claimed an email had been created in 2006. The defendant stated he never saw the email in question and didn’t believe it existed at the time it was said to have been written. “We found that the plaintiff was falsifying data using software that wasn’t available until 2010,” Greene says. Greene has more than 30 years of experience as a computer, technology and digital forensics professional. His firm’s clients range from California to Rhode Island and some foreign countries. Satellite offices are located in Arizona, Indiana, Florida and Alaska. Experience in this rapidly growing and changing field gives Greene and his firm a genuine edge. “I’ve been doing electronic evidence recovery and analysis longer than most people in the country. People are able to get certificates in this line of work from numerous sources, but until you have the experience you really can’t perform well for an attorney. I see things the average forensics expert would miss. I once found just a snippet of source code other experts had missed. That small artifact led to the finding of the facts in the case.” He says communication takes effort, training and experience to get to the level where someone can communicate effectively to the attorney, the client and a jury. “You have to be able to communicate well and have a strong professional appearance and background while you’re doing it,” he says. Focusing on Computer Forensics After graduating from high school Greene, went to work for IBM in Tucson. He left IBM in 1982 to form Great Scott Enterprises, a software development firm that turned into a full service information technology company. Due to his credentials and the rapidly increasing demand for computer and technology forensics, he soon created a new department and added computer forensics to the company’s offering. The new enterprise was so successful that in 2008 he took Evidence Solutions out of the company, separated it, and sold Great Scott Enterprises in 2011. These days, Evidence Solutions is his primary focus. The move was more than just a financial or career-oriented action. “I really wanted to focus on the computer forensics field. I found the process of finding the smoking gun more interesting and challenging,” Greene says. By 2011, everyday information technology services had become something of a commodity because so many people were doing it. The field was no longer the specialized service it had been when the company was young. Today, computers are one of the largest targets for data recovery. Day-to-day operations of most companies as well as the day-to- day lives of most people are handled by personal computers and cell phones. Evidence Solutions finds all types of information ranging from simple he said/she said cases in civil litigation to complex, multinational corporations who need to prove if an employee did or did not walk off with intellectual property. Greene has plans for expansion and is always looking to growing the company, add additional examiners, and open new offices across the country. Recovering Electronic Evidence Greene says, “We can recover data from almost anything with a brain and a memory.” Two areas of service are growing rapidly: truck accident data and medical malpractice, which includes the examination of electronic medical records. Truck accident data recovery can include such things as cellphone usage in a commercial motor vehicle – which has been banned – and recovery of cell phone data from persons making calls while driving. The firm is currently working on a couple of cases in which drivers were operating a vehicle while watching videos. In addition, Evidence Solutions looks at truck company GPS records to determine where trucks may have been at any particular time, as well as, the back office records such as billing, dispatch and maintenance. Medical malpractice and the examination of electronic medical records are areas in which people can falsify data in numerous ways. Electronic medical records is an area in which the doctor or the hospital can cover up what really happened or, even if they’re not trying to cover up, they’re unable to produce the data. Evidence Solutions has a track record of producing a good audit trail of what allegedly happened to the patient’s medical record when he or she was in the care of the doctor or the hospital. Recovery of Obfuscated or Deleted Material It’s common for people to try to cover their tracks by deleting data - anything from email to documents. Greene’s team is often able to recover data someone has deleted. “Although there are programs out there designed to permanently wipe data, Evidence Solutions experts can detect when someone has done that,” he says. “This is called spoliation. When someone has spoiled the evidence, we can see someone has used or installed this type of software. The courts don’t look favorably on that. It’s a red flag,” Greene says. In addition, data can be permanently deleted only when someone knows where all the copies are stored. If someone sends an email with an attachment the email is probably in four places: sender’s computer, the email server, the recipient’s server and the recipient’s computer. It is very difficult to eliminate that many copies in that many locations. Data can be permanently erased, however, it will probably leave a trail. Revealing the Data It is possible to falsify emails and documents to make them look like they were created in a specific timeframe that benefits the person making the claim. Greene tells his clients that the falsification of data isn’t foolproof and that evidence of such can be found. “When we’re working on collecting or examining information, we can see when things were created, when things were edited, and when things were accessed. We frequently look at that kind of information in email where we can determine whether or not an email was created in the timeframe the person who has the email claims,” he says. Expert Witness and Testimony Services Information and data is important, but it is equally important to pull that information together in a form that can be used effectively by the firm’s clients. “It can get dicey,” Greene says. One of the important things when hiring a technical expert is to find someone who is not only technologically proficient at finding the information, but able to dress well, look good, and be able to handle a beating by the opposing counsel while explaining technical information in plain English. “People will attack my thoughts and my report, and they’ll ask hypotheticals to attempt to throw me off . But, if you know your facts and know them well, it’s not really a problem,” he says. Recovery Encourages Settlement Greene believes in frequent and open communications with his firm’s clients. They identify the data needed and set up a game plan as to how to work together throughout the process, including plans for trial if that becomes necessary. “I want to know the attorney is going to communicate and not wait until the last hour to try to get the case together. I let them know what we can do, how we can do it, how quickly we can work, and I try to keep them well ahead of where they need to be,” Greene says. That’s sometimes difficult because of the court system, he says. For example, attorneys don’t want to invest a lot of money for recovery services if the case is going to settle and never go to trial. Greene frequently educates the attorneys who hire him about what can and cannot be found. He helps them through the process of collecting, analyzing and reporting the facts surrounding the data. Greene helps the attorney determine what they need to discuss with their client about what is or isn’t found, and what all those parts and pieces mean as a whole to the case. Knowledge (recovered data, for example) is power and that power can be used to turn events in the favor of an attorney’s case. “Frequently my reports encourage settlement because I report facts more than anything. The main thing is to always do the right thing,” he says. The workload for those attorneys, and for Evidence Solutions, is growing. The sheer quantity of data is growing dramatically because hard drives are cheap and their capacities are increasing and people are simply storing information without investing the time to clean it up. Encryption – people deliberately keeping other people out of their data is going to be a big issue in the future, Greene predicts. “Keeping up with technology is nonstop. At Evidence Solutions, we are constantly educating ourselves on the latest technology as to the type of data and its location as well as the new technology that allows access to that data. We invest a lot of time with continuing education.” A Family of Cheerleaders “I get a great deal of pleasure sharing what I do with my family because they’re my biggest cheerleaders and they get excited when I put things together and solve a case,” Greene says. He and his wife, Kelly, have been married five years and they have four children: Brandon, Sean, Sydney and Blake. “It’s a marvelous group of human beings. They are thrilled about what I do and how I expose the truth,” he says. Greene’s hobbies include sailing, especially in the waters off Mexico or in the Caribbean. He occasionally plays golf. He also has an interest in flying. His reading includes authors Vince Flynn, Lee Child, and he enjoys spy novels. Greene says he watches very little television, but enjoys films from comedies to action-adventure and thrillers. “I do believe in giving back, my wife and I are very active in the community. I’m involved in the Blair Impact Group, as a member of the board of directors,” Greene says. The Blair Impact Group puts together basketball camps where the kids have to learn a civics lesson before they can play basketball “What keeps me going? I love what I do. The best part of any given day is sharing knowledge with others, being hired for cases which are complex, intriguing, unique and helping an attorney understand all of the aspects of data in their case.” Greene says.
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