As #MeToo Drives Up Cases, A New Type of Compliance Tool

Legal tech on its own clearly cannot solve the problems society faces, but Hanzo, a web data analysis company, often working on investigations and ediscovery, is taking aim at helping compliance teams more rapidly handle matters such as harassment complaints with a new tool.

In short, their argument goes like this: in the US at least, there has been a steady rise in compliance issues related to harassment, with sexual harassment charges filed with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) rising by 12% in one year – and that’s just the tip of the compliance iceberg, as these are just the ones that get escalated to the point they go to the Federal employment body.

Moreover, the time it takes to investigate these complaints for businesses can often take longer than recommended compliance guidelines, and that leaves businesses of all types, in potential breach of standards, says Hanzo.

One reason for the length of time to collect evidence on matters such as harassment, is that it can sometimes occur online or involve an online aspect, taking place through a complex variety of digital channels and social media sites. Compliance teams can therefore find it hard to gather current and historical evidence, search it in a meaningful way, and to retain it as viable legal evidence.

Hanzo, which is built on its ability to capture web pages and unstructured content and then store them ‘live’ without any loss of data or format, now hopes to use its tech to help compliance teams with this problem.

As the company explains: ‘Evidence discovered online is captured, preserved, and archived in its native format using tamper-proof files. [The system can then help a lawyer/compliance team to] analyse, share, filter, and search comprehensive exportable report summaries of each investigation, with keyword matches, activity timelines, geographic evidence mapping, and data visualisation.’

The system captures all the web-based data ‘as is’ including images, hashtags, links to other sites, and preserves them. And the key word search, which operates over many types of social platforms, is particularly useful for isolating evidence quickly.

The same tech can also be used in related compliance areas that may leave a web-based trail, such as attempts to bribe or coerce. But the core idea is the same: find and capture the structured and unstructured data in its original state, keep it ‘live’, then have a means to rapidly search it.

Given how toxic Twitter can sometimes be, for example, and the rise in awareness and also the courage to report harassment, then this may prove to be a useful tool.