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4 Data Solutions Every Government Agency Should Know About

Brian Begley

Government agencies aren’t immune to big data. While their protocols, use cases, and pain points are unique, they share a bond with corporations as they search for the truth within heaps of information. These agencies are turning to innovative solutions to support the new age of investigations and FOIA requests.

While these tools were created for litigation, they offer the capabilities, speed, and security the government needs when handling investigations and FOIA requests.

Here are a few common pain points agencies face as well as suggested solutions to help accelerate the process.

1. Investigating Audio and Video Files

When a government agency is running an investigation, especially law enforcement agencies, there’s a high likelihood audio and video files will be up for review. Whether it’s phone calls, wire taps, or video surveillance, listening to and watching every single file can take weeks.

Fortunately, tools like Veritone Legal can help process and analyze unstructured audio and video files in the effort to shorten that timeline. The solution can transcribe audio and video, allowing you to view the media file along with its transcription.

2. Analyzing Social Media and Enterprise Chat Data

A decade ago, it was rare for social media data to be involved in an investigation or legal matter. Now, 69 percent of US adults use social media, including the five most recent US presidents. Enterprise chat platforms add another layer of complexity to an investigation if it’s related to an individual’s job.

Whether or not we realize it, anyone with a social media account is posting troves of information about themselves and their acquaintances on these platforms—information that can give government investigators potentially valuable insight into their suspects and case.

Reviewing, analyzing, and producing data from social media and enterprise chat sources can be difficult. To ease the process, agencies should consider using a solution like RTK.Message by Anexys. The tool allows users to import, filter, and review social media data—from sources such as Facebook and Twitter—and enterprise chat data—from sources such as Bloomberg Chat and Microsoft Lync.

3. Identifying the Facts that Matter with a Surplus of Data

Social media isn’t the only type of data that’s growing. The Radicati Group estimates that by the end of 2019, more than 246 billion emails will be sent and received per day. It’s no surprise that lawyers and investigators have a lot of data to dig through. Tools in Relativity Analytics—such as email threading and clustering—allow agencies to easily organize this data and identify patterns.

With the data analyzed, tools like NexLP’s Story Engine allow users to map out the major players and graph their relationships, and sentiment analysis capabilities help investigators to understand the context of a story.

4. Efficient Redactions for FOIA requests

Hundreds of thousands of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests are made each year to access government information. Last year, the government received nearly 800,000 FOIA requests.

When an agency receives each request, it’s probable that the document or record includes confidential and personally identifiable information (PII) that needs to be redacted before responding. Even with more than 4,000 full-time FOIA employees, it’s time consuming to review all the necessary documents to ensure the correct redactions are made.

Milyli’s redaction application, Blackout, will automatically redact documents based on criteria set by the user. Created for attorneys, this tool can also be a lifesaver for anyone responding to a FOIA request.

Explore the Relativity App Hub

Brian Begley is Relativity’s director of government sales, where he helps federal agencies find e-discovery solutions to handle their growing data needs.