EDiscovery（electronic discovery，e-discovery，电子文件披露) refers to the process of searching, locating and hosting electronic data, and it also searches for the purpose of using these electronic data as evidence in civil or criminal cases. EDiscovery can be carried out offline on a particular computer, and it can also be carried out on the Internet. It is a method that is appointed by the court or approved by the government, in order to obtain the key evidence.
The nature of the digital data makes the data very suitable for investigation. Firstly, in the field of electronic, digital data can be very conveniently searched, while paper documents must be manually queried. Secondly, digital data is hard or impossible to be completely destroyed, especially when it is entered into the network. This is because the data appear on a number of hard drives, even if it is deleted, the digital files can be restored. In fact, the only reliable way to destroy a computer file is to destroy all the hard drives that save the file.
In the process of eDiscovery, all types of data can be used as evidence. Data can include documents, pictures, timing files, databases, spreadsheets, audio files, animation, web sites, and computer programs. Even malicious software such as viruses, Trojans and spyware can also be obtained and investigated. E-mail is a particularly valuable source of evidence in civil or criminal proceedings, because people tend to pay less attention to these messages than to hard copy letters, such as memo and postal mail.
Computer Forensics (计算机取证), also known as cyberforensics, is a special form of eDiscovery. It can investigate the contents of a hard disk drive on a particular computer. After the physical separation of the computer, the investigators can copy the data on the hard disk drive. Then the original computer will be locked in a secure facility to keep its original state. All investigations are carried out on a digital copy.
EDiscovery（电子文件披露) is a continuous development field, far beyond the scope of the simple technology. It provides a simple and rapid development direction for the combination of big data with the Technology and Law.