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Real Enron Clues Could be Digital

Techstination feature for Monday, February 4, 2002

When it comes to the Enron investigation, the real evidence could be digital. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. While the investigation into Enron continues... much of the focus has been on those shredded documents. But at Ontrack Data International, legal consultant Kristin Nimsger tells us the best evidence may be digital. The data recovery company has worked with law enforcement on numerous cases to retrieve evidence from computer hard drives. And while Nimsger says when it comes to Enron...

"We're certainly not able to comment whether we're specifically involved in that matter, but I think there's a great deal to be said with regard to that investigation. Much has been made in the media, of course, relating to the shredded paper documents. And the real story in that investigation is very likely going to be the electronic evidence. The fact of the matter is that in corporate America, 93 percent of data is created electronically."

And when data is stored electronically... Nimsger says it most likely can be recovered even if it has been deleted...

"When you hit delete on a file it doesn't actually delete the file from your hard drive. What it does is just mark the space occupied by that file as available for other information. And until that space has been overwritten by information, and in many cases overwritten several times, the deleted file is still available for recovery by computer forensics experts."

Sometimes even when software tools are used that supposedly shred those digital files. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.