"In litigation between competitors, protective orders alone are an insufficient means of solving confidentiality issues. This is particularly true when large databases and other collections of electronic information are at issue. For example, theft of trade secret lawsuits between employers and their former employees continue to increase. The proliferation of electronic data, and the ease of personal storage devices that allow such data to be copied and removed (see Personal Storage Devices Create Workplace Challenges) contribute to the frequency of these allegations.
Computer forensics is a tool of choice in these cases, particularly when concerns about data erasure exist. However, the strength of forensics as a discovery tool also creates privacy and relevancy concerns that limit computer forensics’ uncontrolled use. Once a mirror image of a disk has been made, the party in receipt of the copy has ALL information on the disk – include other proprietary information and private data that has nothing to do with the allegations at issue."