An anonymous reader writes "As of today [Friday], certain U.S. companies will need to keep track of all the e-mails, instant messages and other electronic documents generated by their employees, in accordance with new federal rules. In April the Supreme Court began requiring companies and other entities involved in federal litigation to produce 'electronically stored information' as part of the discovery process of a trial." From the article: "Under the new rules, an information technology employee who routinely copies over a backup computer tape could be committing the equivalent of 'virtual shredding,' said Alvin F. Lindsay, a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP and expert on technology and litigation. 'There are hundreds of "e-discovery vendors" and these businesses raked in approximately $1.6 billion in 2006, [James Wright, director of electronic discovery at Halliburton Co.] said. .'"
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