Three things I learned at my first OpenText EnFuse

James Comey’s mistake, judicial concerns, the mighty rise of InfoSec and other highlights from the conference

With OpenText™ Enterprise World approaching, I can’t help but reflect on the recent OpenText Enfuse® conference (my first). Some of the highlights for me included James Comey on leadership; federal magistrate judges on the future of privacy; and a state of the industry session that motivated me to take a week off work to complete my IAPP CIPP certification.

1. James Comey’s most important case was lost

James Comey opened his Enfuse keynote by admitting a mistake, specifically in how he approached encryption in the post-Snowden world. Recall that in the wake of the San Bernardino tragedy, the FBI sought evidence from locked Apple iPhones and, in the process of seeking assistance created a dispute that ultimately led to an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to documenting the dispute. His leadership mistake, he went on to explain, lay in how he shut down the conversation before it could even start, driving the parties away from each other instead of finding common ground. This tied into another one of Comey’s themes – or, rather, cautionary warnings – that we are drifting towards a place where there will be areas of life that are beyond the reach of law. (More on that later.)

OpenText Vice Chair, CEO & CTO Mark Barrenechea joined Comey on stage for a fireside chat. Their discussion hit on fake news, the post-truth era, making hard decisions, the surveillance era, social media and election meddling. But my favorite anecdote was about Comey’s most important case where he sat second-chair on a doomed matter just to support a newbie prosecutor.

A substantial part of Comey’s keynote was focused on leadership style. He spoke at length about the importance of body language and being conscious of status differences, the “imposter syndrome” and other communication dynamics between leaders and subordinates. Ironically, though he tried to dissuade standing to attention during his tenure at the FBI, he nonetheless received a standing ovation at Enfuse.

2. Magistrate judges are focused on privacy too

The themes of the Enfuse judicial panel, and James Comey’s keynote, shared a concern over privacy. The panel brought together active and retired federal magistrate judges from New York, New Jersey and Florida for a discussion about OpenText™ EnCase™ eDiscovery, forensics and privacy—moderated by Hal Marcus, Director of Product Marketing (Discovery) at OpenText. The first issue on the docket concerned how the judges have seen eDiscovery and forensic issues evolve with respect to IoT, social media and smart phones.

The judges observed that many lawyers were getting better at spotting potential forensic issues related to cell phone collection and bring experts on board early. While none of the judges had actually seen an internet-connected refrigerator admitted into evidence yet, they had seen a variety of other IoT devices. Foremost among them, automobile GPS and toll pass data. But my favorite part, and the one that got the most audience questions, was clearly the 4th amendment discussion. The judges took the time to walk the audience through core constitutional law (e.g., Katz v. US, Smith v. Maryland, California v. Greenwood) to establish the basics around the expectation of privacy, before an engaging discussion of future issues, including those pending in front of SCOTUS right now in Carpenter v. US.

3. The eDiscovery industry remains strong, but InfoSec and privacy are flying high

It seemed only fitting that Jared Coseglia of TRU Staffing Partners would address the state of the industry less than 48 hours from the implementation of GDPR. Jared’s high-energy presentation covered some interesting job trends backed up with (gasp) actual data. InfoSec can’t hire fast enough, but eDiscovery is near equilibrium with very few senior leadership roles open and a new norm of contract staffing. Want to break into InfoSec? Certifications are a good way to go, with the following in particularly high demand: CSXP, CSAC, OSCP, and EnCE.

Obviously, the importance of certifications resonated with me but more so was the data on relocation. An increasing volume of experienced job hunters are leaving the metropolitan areas like San Francisco and New York for placements in cities with a lower cost of living and higher quality of life. The theory is that even though some disciplines have reached equilibrium, established professionals can work remotely in lower-cost cities (effectively realizing raises because they can actually afford a house now). But, less-experienced job hunters are still flocking to the big cities for opportunities.

We should do this again sometime…

There was much more high-quality content at Enfuse, like hands-on labs with Wal-Mart’s eDiscovery team and AI-powered predictive policing solutions with the OpenText Magellan team.

Fortunately, we’re carrying this energy through to Enterprise World with another eDiscovery track full of panels and breakouts addressing key legal technology issues. Join us in Toronto from July 10-12 to learn how to talk to your lawyers about data, see why lawyers are adopting AI faster than you, and participate in live mock smartphone and email investigations with OpenText experts and clients.

Enterprise World 2018

Adam Kuhn

Adam is an eDiscovery attorney and Product Marketing Manager at OpenText Discovery. He holds an advanced certification for the Axcelerate eDiscovery platform and is responsible for research, education and outreach programs. Adam also serves as a Senior Research Fellow at the McCarthy Institute for IP & Technology Law at the University of San Francisco School of Law.

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