Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct a reference to Zubulake v. UBS Warburg.

We have all seen the numbers, even if they are beyond comprehension: The most recent International Data Corp. report on Big Data estimates that between 2005 and 2020, the digital universe is expected to grow by a factor of 300—from 130 exabytes to 40,000 exabytes. That translates to 40 trillion gigabytes—more than 5,200 gigabytes for every man, woman and child on earth in 2020, a doubling of the digital universe every two years. (IDC Report, ” Big Data, Bigger Digital Shadows, and Biggest Growth in the Far East ” (Dec. 2012.) No informed person would bet that this growth rate will decline any time soon.

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