Texts as Digital Evidence: How to Be Prepared

Communicating via text has become the most common method of staying connected. From planning major life events to exchanging small day-to-day details, text messages serve as a catchall platform for communication. Still, many people also rely on texting to send and receive sensitive information, from financial advice to trading insights.

Despite the casual vibe often associated with texting, these digital exchanges can hold significant weight in legal contexts. In today’s legal proceedings, digital communications – be it texts, emails, or direct messages on platforms like Instagram – are increasingly admissible as evidence. Knowing this, many organizations must implement systems for archiving and preserving these comms, anticipating their potential relevance in future investigations. 

Yet the process of preserving digital messages is not straightforward, and requires adherence to specific protocols to ensure their authenticity and integrity, raising questions regarding the validity of digital evidence in legal proceedings. 

Providing Validity

Text messages are admissible in court if they can be proven real. There are countless ways one could fake a text these days, so ensuring it’s authentic is crucial to having a piece of communication like this be considered viable in court – and there are procedures that must be followed to ensure that the texts in question haven’t been altered.

If a company is properly archiving and capturing their texts from the origin, then there’s no issue proving its authenticity. In fact, many industries (particularly finance, insurance and other highly regulated fields) are legally required to archive and capture their communications or risk a hefty fine.

Authenticating Text Messages

Even with meticulously captured iMessages, legal teams undertake three crucial steps to ensure the authenticity of a message – from verifying its sender to validating a text screenshot (which, surprisingly, does hold legal weight).

First, a forensic analyst is enlisted to perform drive imaging, creating an exact duplicate of the drive. They then scrutinize file hash values to detect any alterations, signaling potential tampering with the evidence. Finally, this rigorous process is documented as a chain of custody, detailing every individual who has interacted with the files, serving as an additional safeguard against tampering.

Make a Difficult Situation Easier by Being Prepared

No one wants to be involved in a legal matter where the arduous work of digging up text messages needs to be done. However, if you’re already in a position where these messages are being archived and captured, this process will be less burdensome and significantly quicker, ensuring that the whole matter is resolved sooner rather than later. 

Instead of relying on hope to avoid such situations, proactive preparation is key. Utilizing FirmScribe to archive and capture your iMessages ensures you're equipped for any legal challenges that may arise, streamlining the process and positionin