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Judge Gives Intel More Time To Find Missing E-mail 62

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-hard dept.
narramissic writes "ITworld is reporting that Intel has until April 17 (7 days more than the original deadline of April 10) to 'explain to a judge why it lost e-mail records that could provide proof that the chip maker used anticompetitive practices as alleged by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD).' According to an order from Vincent Poppiti, the special master hearing negotiations of the case, the court is looking for an accounting of Intel's document preservation problems and a proposal for a better solution for archiving future records."
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Judge Gives Intel More Time To Find Missing E-mail

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:08PM (#18669123)
    ... we can't find them because we deleted them.
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:14PM (#18669153)
      > ... we can't find them because we deleted them.

      Hey, whaddya think this is, the SCO case? :)

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Of course GP doesn't think this is the SCO case. They said Intel could try the truth.
        • It is looking like Intel is less worried about obstruction that they are about releasing the truth. This sure does sound like a similar company whose name started with a vowel "E.r.n".
    • by ZDRuX (1010435) * on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:18PM (#18669179)

      ... we can't find them because we deleted them.
      Actually... that's exactly what they did.

      That process hit a snag when Intel said in March it had accidentally deleted many of those records, including e-mail written by its Chairman Craig Barrett and CEO Paul Ottelini. The problem happened because the company failed to instruct certain employees to keep records of their own e-mail, other employees assumed the IT department would do that task for them, and meanwhile the company's IT system was automatically deleting most e-mail after a certain amount of time, Intel told a judge.

      and...

      "Although Intel has agreed to restore all data captured in the thousands of backup tapes it made and preserved, no one can say with any degree of confidence that this will put Humpty-Dumpty back together again," AMD said in a March 5 court statement.
      • by billcopc (196330)
        Is it just me or has Intel been dirty ever since that Otellini guy reared his ugly head ? I remember a while back when he came to Canada to suck some federal cock, he needed a larger security detail than the premiers he was visiting.

        • by Kelz (611260)
          As far as I know (as a former intel employee), Intel has been erasing emails from its email servers after 2 months even before Otellini took over. And I can understand why, as I was told that upwards of 2-3 million emails were sent daily, internally.
      • Rather than just granting more time to do the same, the judge should have offered Intel another option. "I'll give you another 30 days, before I allow AMD to "put Humpty-Dumpty back together again".
    • When I contracted with Intel, auto deletion after 30 days was SOP.
    • oh you forgot that they also lost the other weekly tapes of backup and for some reason, the monthly and yearly have gone away too
  • I call poppycock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cervantes (612861) on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:17PM (#18669171) Journal
    This whole thing sounds like crap from Intel. "Whoops, your honour, we, a giant, multibillion dollar organization, staffed with the brightest engineering and IT minds that money can buy, accidentally forgot to keep email archives. TeeHee. No idea how that happened. Oh well, since there's no evidence of our transgressions thanks to this 'oopsie', we'll just go home now..."

    I mean, does anyone actually believe that they forgot to uncheck that annoying little box in Exchange labelled "Delete all incriminating emails after 30 days"? I could believe that a few emails got misplaced, even believe that one set of tapes was damaged or corrupted... but "the staff wasn't doing it, IT didn't think about it, and the system was automatically deleting them"?

    I think I may just keep buying AMD, mostly because I'm worried that Intel quality control is about the same as their IT competence, and I'll open up my new Core Duo to find a severed human finger in there.
    (but safely wrapped in a clean room suit).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's actually more difficult than you might suppose to put in place a policy controlling this sort of thing. People don't normally consider their day to day correspondence to be potential legal material (though it obviously is) and as such unless very strong controls are put in place from the top (with consequences for not following the rules) it is quite difficult to manage correspondence and other such records. You can't expect people to spontaneously do it without a system in place, as they are doing R
      • by unother (712929) *
        i agree; and the real issue is getting systems in place that are non-intrusive. Things like email retention are great policy but run up against the myriad things people can do to remove or move them. Obviously, any email should be captured at the SMTP level. What stuck GP as odd is that in a very IT-centric operation, they state they have no policy: big company or no (and I agree with the slovenly and slapped together methods most work with) they are THE IT company. I imagine if this was not done it was
    • Re:I call poppycock (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dausha (546002) on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:41PM (#18669359) Homepage
      "...No idea how that happened. Oh well, since there's no evidence of our transgressions thanks to this 'oopsie', we'll just go home now..."

      Except, it does not exactly work like that. Law is more experience than reason; courts know that if you have evidence that points to your guilt you're more likely to "lose" it. So, when the plaintiff can prove you probably had evidence showing your guilt and you fail to produce it, the court can allow a negative inference to be drawn. This means the judge will tell the jury that the defendant likely had incriminating evidence and destroyed it and that the jury is free to assume it was destroyed to cover the defendant's ass.

      I clerked for a plaintiff's firm that was good at this sort of thing. The attorney tended to have defendants who had dispatch records that were destroyed quarterly by standard operating procedure (SOP) (required by law that they have _a_ SOP). However, one defendant had a special SOP to destroy such tapes as soon as frigg'n possible when something bad happened---like three separate, fatal accidents caused by its company on one day recorded on one dispatch tape. The request for the tape was made within a couple of weeks and "oops," the defendant lost it. The Court had a field day with the defendant.

      The problem, however, is that a gullible jury can be persuaded that the adage "never assume malice where incompetence will suffice" is in play.

      Here there was probably an email retention SOP that was violated by these emails going missing. In that case, the judge is probably giving Intel another week to settle or come up with the emails or allow AMD to move for a negative inference that it will more likely win.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I'll open up my new Core Duo to find a severed human finger in there.

      I wouldn't worry about that too much, it'd probably just be an empty threat to keep you loyal, and have nothing to do with quality. When I switched OS I woke up the next day with a horse's head in the bed next to me, and "WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO TODAY?" written on the wall in blood. AFAICT, it's all perfectly harmless.
    • by cavtroop (859432)
      This whole thing sounds like crap from Intel. "Whoops, your honour, we, a giant, multibillion dollar organization, staffed with the brightest engineering and IT minds that money can buy,

      I work for a giant, multibillion dollar organization (no, not Intel). And let me tell you, the IT department here most certainly is NOT staffed with the brightest engineering and IT minds that money can buy. Quite the opposite. It seems that they hire under-qualified people here, who get up to speed, then leave for a real

      • by osu-neko (2604)

        giant, multibillion dollar organization

        And there's the problem. Giant organizations, be they corporate or governmental, are the easiest places in the world for incompetent people to hide. Big corporations like Intel can harbor incompetence that no small organization could match, or they'd be out of business.

        I'm reminded of the old question asked by the president of IBM in the sixties, after the CDC 6600 came out, "How is it that this tiny company [Control Data] of 34 people--including the janitor--can

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by jimmydevice (699057)
          I don't know about the process side of Intel, but the engineering side uses a yearly process named FOCAL (ya, like that old DEC language) that pits employee against employee with a cut-throat review process graded on a curve. The curve assures the group has a minimum of top achevers and a number of "shape up or ship out" unfortunates, even if the whole group consists of A+ workers. This keeps the crew in terror and pay raises to a minimum. And no, I was just a contractor and didn't go through that crap.
          • by Fred_A (10934)
            Sounds like a great way to build up morale !
            I hope managers are allowed to slap the employees !
    • by COMON$ (806135) *
      Maybe I am missing something here but with the sheer amount of e-mail that intel has to go through a month I think archiving would be a problem. So having a company policy that says 30 day window and that is it, really is not unreasonable. Especially when there is much more important data to backup.
  • Never understood (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pembo13 (770295) on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:18PM (#18669175) Homepage
    why people expect others to keep incriminating, or even non-incriminating emails
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by RedElf (249078)
      Just route all mail to /dev/null, that solves the problem.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ZDRuX (1010435) *
      I`m not a lawyer or anything but.. I think when you're a corporation of this size and so much influence, you're expected to keep records of everything that happens, and be publically responsible for any harm you do, should someone question your procedure in court.

      NOW! On a different note.. if you are going to be writing emails about how to screw over another company, why in the world would you do it in a tracable way? Why not meet over a lunch dinner, or maybe even do it over the phone?.. Bah, use an outs
      • by SeaFox (739806)

        I`m not a lawyer or anything but.. I think when you're a corporation of this size and so much influence, you're expected to keep records of everything that happens, and be publically responsible for any harm you do, should someone question your procedure in court.

        Yes but why are we expecting the corporation to keep track of its own records? Isn't this like having the fox guarding the chicken coop and then requiring him to promptly report if he eats any chickens during his watch? Why would the the law seriou

        • by Danse (1026)

          Yes but why are we expecting the corporation to keep track of its own records? Isn't this like having the fox guarding the chicken coop and then requiring him to promptly report if he eats any chickens during his watch? Why would the the law seriously expect a company to follow through on this?

          Because in most cases the guys making the laws are the same guys that have run big corporations, or intend to after they leave office.
    • I don't know why this is flamebait. I don't keep a lot of my mail and for no other reason than I can't stand the clutter (I know email is not actual clutter, but it is mental clutter). It is perfectly reasonable to delete older email AND it is perfectly legal (so far as I know) to delete older email unless you have reason to suspect that it will be evidence in a criminal case. Of course, there is no better reason to delete it than that, but still.
    • short answer why people keep them?

      because they're legally obligated to under US law. once you get sued, if you start destroying incriminating evidence, you're doing very bad things as far as the law is concerned.

      even if you haven't yet been served with a lawsuit, if you know you've been behaving badly and suddenly dump a truckload of backup tapes in a swamp or something, that will come out -- and looks very, very bad before a judge/arbitrator/jury once a case develops.
  • by FST (766202)
    FTA:

    The problem happened because the company failed to instruct certain employees to keep records of their own e-mail, other employees assumed the IT department would do that task for them, and meanwhile the company's IT system was automatically deleting most e-mail after a certain amount of time, Intel told a judge.


    Excuse me for asking, but if that is their official standing, why did they need the 7 day extension? What's gone is gone, isn't it?
    • by mackyrae (999347)
      They could probably get someone to use diagnostic data recovery tools to get the messages back from the mailserver's hard drive.
    • by SeaFox (739806)
      Did you see this quote on an earlier comment?

      "Although Intel has agreed to restore all data captured in the thousands of backup tapes it made and preserved, no one can say with any degree of confidence that this will put Humpty-Dumpty back together again," AMD said in a March 5 court statement.

      I assume they are being given time to try to piece a backup together before the buzzer sounds.
      • by Fred_A (10934)
        Or to type in reasonable make believe emails :

        > Hey bob, did you look at that AMD design an anonymous
        >person left in an envelope in front of the office ?

        No, it wouldn't be ethical to do so. Besides we probably could have legal problems if we did look. So I burned the papers. See ya at lunch.

        Bob - Mgr - product designs
  • Man, and I thought my mail server needs an upgrade to cope with all the spam. Intel's must really suck.
  • Document retention. (Score:4, Informative)

    by joe_bruin (266648) on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:24PM (#18669239) Homepage Journal
    These email lapses and information destruction policies are becoming turning points in lawsuits all too often. It is absurd that major corporations are not required to keep all executive email on record, forever. Not just for lawsuits, more so to protect investors and the public against illegal and unethical behavior by the company's officers. The Sarbanes-Oxley act requires that records be made available to "Understand how significant transactions are initiated, authorized, supported, processed, and reported;", and I would think email is a significant component of this.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      These email lapses and information destruction policies are becoming turning points in lawsuits all too often. It is absurd that major corporations are not required to keep all executive email on record, forever. Not just for lawsuits, more so to protect investors and the public against illegal and unethical behavior by the company's officers. The Sarbanes-Oxley act requires that records be made available to "Understand how significant transactions are initiated, authorized, supported, processed, and report

  • Uh huh....sure.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Monday April 09, 2007 @06:26PM (#18669261)

    FTFA:

    That process hit a snag when Intel said in March it had accidentally deleted many of those records, including e-mail written by its Chairman Craig Barrett and CEO Paul Ottelini.

    Yeah, sure. Email sent by the corporate executives accidentally deleted?

    People get their asses fired and sued for much less than that.

    The people responsible for the email of the executives don't do anything of the sort unless they're explicitly told to.

    So I think it's about as likely that the email messages in question got "accidentally" deleted as it is that the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was "accidentally" bombed.

    • So I think it's about as likely that the email messages in question got "accidentally" deleted as it is that the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was "accidentally" bombed.

      If I had mod points, you'd get them just for that.

    • by SeaFox (739806) on Monday April 09, 2007 @10:05PM (#18670707)

      So I think it's about as likely that the email messages in question got "accidentally" deleted as it is that the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was "accidentally" bombed.

      Oh, I can explain that one.
      You see, apparently there was a gross misunderstanding of the commander's lunch order of "Take-out, Chinese".
    • by Fred_A (10934)

      Yeah, sure. Email sent by the corporate executives accidentally deleted?

      People get their asses fired and sued for much less than that.

      Don't be silly, those aren't people, they are corporate executives and lawyers.

      In the end they'll just fire a random janitor claiming he unplugged the backup server to plug his vacuum in.
    • So I think it's about as likely that the email messages in question got "accidentally" deleted as it is that the Chinese embassy in Belgrade was "accidentally" bombed.

      A friend of mine in the Army who was in the region at the time told me about an interesting theory/rumor that was floating around the troops there. The story was, that the Chinese had intelligence gathering equipment in their building and were passing on information to the Serbs (and presumably weren't willing to stop when asked nicely). The Americans couldn't let it continue, yet couldn't say they intentionally bombed an embassy, so instead it was an "oops". This would also explain why the Chinese were

  • According to an order from Vincent Poppiti, the special master hearing negotiations of the case, the court is looking for an accounting of Intel's document preservation problems and a proposal for a better solution for archiving future records."

    This reminds me of something Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1343- October 25, 1400) said, "If gold rusts what should iron do?" If giant corporations cannot keep track of their data how can one expect the average Joe to keep his information backed up properly?

    We run a small

    • by Zenne (1013871)
      Well, I think the difference between a single person and a giant corporation is that the person has the interests of one person in mind, and the giant corp. has...a lot of people who probably aren't on the same page. Different scale of task (large vs. small) and different scale of people (many vs. one) means that the individual doesn't have to communicate the need for back up of a certian thing to a thousand different people. So, I don't think the two are comparable in this analogy.
  • Seen it all before (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GFree (853379) on Monday April 09, 2007 @07:06PM (#18669543)
    This reminds me of politicians who have to testify at a hearing for whatever indecent they've managed to get themselves involved with.

    "Sorry, I have no memory of that event."
    "Sorry, I have no recollection of that phone call."
    "Sorry, I cannot recall that conversation."

    Unfortunately we're screwed either way. If they're lying, then they can't be trusted to run a country. If they're telling the truth, then they have shown an extraordinary inability to remember important details, they have chronic memory problems and as such they still can't be trusted to run a country.
    • If they do recover the emails, they'll just show every email they've got EXCEPT the incriminating ones.

      Instead of letting them try to find the emails, why doesnt the judge require an external source to find the email...?
  • Intel, it is time to envoke the Exchange Lawsuit Virtual drive!

    Open System Manager, hold down the CTRL key, while typing 'BillGATES'.

    A virtual drive of unknown origin will appear on the desktop, containing all the missing email.

    It is up to you whether to make copies, or to delete the files.

    Type 'AMDisOURbitch' to make the files invisible again.

  • I work for Intel. We shred EVERYTHING after one year. Email that is not backed up is deleted after about 30 days. The why is very simple; we loose things, we forget things, we are human. If we did not have such a policy someone might ask for data we may or may not still have after a couple of years. If we cannot find it, it is suspicious, but if we have a 1 year shred policy I do not have to remember where I put each document, where I got the data, and have it backed up FOREVER six ways from Sunday. I

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