I looked down at the long strips of soiled paper on my desk, the pot of glue and the stapler, and I had two thoughts: My nine year old could do this far better and, is this why I went to law school?
“Will you go through their garbage?” Early in my investigative career, that was the question we got over and over again. A former colleague of mine was fond of saying, “If you’re doing an asset search and not picking up trash, you’re committing malpractice.” Clients and investigators were convinced that the answers they were looking for were sitting in discarded trash. And sometimes they were right. Some years ago, a hostile takeover bidder insisted it would never offer a higher price. The calculations we found in the company trash showed they were willing to go higher, which was invaluable intelligence for the client. In a contentious litigation, we found a shredded document that the opposing party testified did not exist.
The practice was legal so long as the trash was outside the property, where there was ‘no expectation of privacy.’ But, one investigator crossed the line and an angry judge overturned a judgment in a high-profile case, based on the invasion of privacy. After that, our clients and their law firms no longer wanted to take the risk of being publicly associated with ‘dumpster diving.’
Bet-the-company intelligence and game-changing evidence is still being hidden. Today, investigators look for it in cyberspace rather than in documents tossed away. Information you need to:
- close a deal,
- checkmate a competitor, and
- prove that your intellectual property has been stolen, exists somewhere on the current or historical Web.
Savvy fraudsters, high-stakes investors, political activists and ‘bad actors’ looking to damage your firm, conduct their business on the Web--often below the surface in blogs or chat rooms that are not indexed.
A&M’s Web Intelligence service utilizes artificial intelligence-enabled software to penetrate and monitor:
- Social networks
- The current and historical Internet
- The Deep Web
- The Dark Web
- Non-indexed blogs and message boards
- Encrypted messaging apps
Web Intelligence uncovers issues including:
- Chatter about #MeToo issues at your firm
- Evidence that your product is being knocked off
- Plans for a demonstration against your company
- Communications among activist investors pressing for board seats
- The real sentiment of your shareholders
All information is analyzed by A&M’s Global Investigations and Intelligence practitioners. Our veteran corporate investigators and former journalists are available to pursue the Web Intelligence leads with traditional investigative techniques. And they don’t long for the days of diving into dumpsters.