I'm a post doc at a U.S. University. I need the files of a grad student research assistant who has left the lab. The student created files (data, codes, simulations, etc) for a few contracts the lab had, which funded him.
This student has been very difficult to contact, and stubborn to send the files. Compounding my problems, the student did his work on 2 computers: (1) his personal laptop, and (2) a lab computer which has had its hard drive wiped. It is important to note that the student used the university internet server the entire time (it's the only way he could use university licensed software). At this point, I have given up on him sending the files.
In general, is it possible to retrieve files (or at least screenshots, old emails, etc) from an employee who is using her/his personal laptop computer but using the company's internet server? If the individual was to log onto to company's Internet wifi server again with their personal laptop, could his files be downloaded and retrieved?
Could the files still exist within the university somehow? This RA wiped his company computer's hard drive before leaving. Since the student used the University internet server, the files could have been monitored and even obtained legally (I think). In the US it's legal for an employer to monitor an employee if they're using company property (internet server, computer, etc). Is it common for a major research university to obtain backup files of all the researchers' work through the Internet server? Or are the files forever gone (at least from a practical point of view)?
I've talked to IT people but have not reached a knowledgeable person yet. Any information would help, this is really holding back the progress of the lab and my required deliverables. The grad student left spontaneously after the semester - otherwise the professor and lab director would have obtained the files from him.