Electronically stored information (ESI) is data that is created, altered, communicated and stored in digital form.
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Under revisions made to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) in 2006, ESI was legally defined to assist with electronic discovery (e-discovery) processes as well as to accommodate litigation pertaining to electronic records. FRCP rules state that one party may present another with a legal request for documents and/or electronically stored information -- including writings, graphs, charts, photographs, sound recordings, images and other data compilations -- stored in any medium.
Upon receipt of a discovery request for information and data pertaining to a lawsuit subject to the FRCP electronic discovery rules, the receiving party must take action to develop and produce a response to the request. It is important that ESI be managed so that privileged information is identified and protected. This includes storing privileged information in a secure location and indexing it for search and retrieval.
See also: cyberforensics