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Businesses Generally Ignoring E-Discovery Rules 109

eweekhickins writes "A full year after the institution of new federal e-discovery court rules, only a minority of companies are paying attention. Keeping track of every IM, email, and document for a court order that may never come must seem like a tall order. Researcher Michael Osterman said that only 47 percent of companies have some kind of e-mail retention policy in place. 'I don't think it's difficult to understand the rules,' Osterman told eWEEK. 'I just think that it sometimes takes headline shock to make people move on some things.'"
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Businesses Generally Ignoring E-Discovery Rules

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  • by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:16PM (#21740352) Homepage
    The law is burdensome on businesses. Keeping track of email is one thing. Keeping all communication archived is ridiculous. We just came up with a solution to archiving email so we can finally delete some mailboxes off of our exchange boxes. My co-worker just wanted to purge the boxes and not back them up. I convinced him that even if this law didn't exist the mail may be useful for us in a court case so it would be worth keeping.

    Now we used to use Spector 360 which would satify this ridiculously overbroad law. The software is nuts though and opens all kinds of issues like keeping the data secure since it captures all keystrokes and so people may have CC#, SSN or bank account numbers in their database records kept by this program.
    When we moved we stopped using the program.
  • Re:Privacy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:18PM (#21740374) Homepage
    Because people have a certain expectation of privacy in email communications even though they shouldn't if the email account is a work email account. Also workplaces ready chat is kind of sketchy. My work used to do it. Not anymore.
  • by wsanders ( 114993 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:19PM (#21740394) Homepage
    You inconsiderate clod, it creates nothing but opportunity for lawyers to charge endless fees for e-discovery. Imagine the new volumes of information available for them to charge $500 an hour to sift through! And if they can charge $1.50 per page to make copies of documents, imagine how much they can markup deleted email recovery services! And the damage awards they can demand from corporation-hating juries for failure to retain data that may or may not have any relevance to the case at hand.

    The opportunities are endless!
  • by olddotter ( 638430 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:23PM (#21740448) Homepage
    If they were, their lobbists would be be crawling all over this. The cost of capturing and storing all of the digital communications made by employees is non trivial. I know of one company just trying to give their lawyers access to query and retain e-mails. That project is a mess. I can't imagine trying to keep instant messaging along with, etc., etc. .....

  • by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @01:31PM (#21740528)
    How about it's a stupid law and is being rightfully ignored? Ya, that's it. It places an undo burden on business, and really, they're being asked to keep evidence which may incriminate them. Might as well ask a rapist to keep detailed records too so they can be subpoenaed.
  • by Cally ( 10873 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @03:38PM (#21742488) Homepage

    I'm not sure why we should really give a shit about what goes on inside a company. What matters is what it does.
    Well IANAL so I can't give you a formal answer to that. However it doesn't take much thought to imagine a scenario where whether or not people inside the company knew certain things or not, and when they knew them, has significance regarding how long people go to jail, how much the company's fined, or whatever. As a random though experiment, supposing the wing falls off the fancy new Airbus super-jumbo and 800 people end up getting their 15 minutes of fame in the form of charred shreds of flesh hanging from scorched trees, Paris '74 style. That would be bad, and clearly a lot of questions would be asked, like "why did the wing fall off?" Supposing the investigators find it was a known design weakness and that senior management had deliberately suppressed internal whistle-blowers who tried to flag it as potentially dangerous. In those circumstances, obviously you want those in the know doing 10-30 for each life lost. OTOH, if the failure mode were due to some exotic combination of novel materials and a sequence of unexpected and completely unpredictable events, and world-class engineers universally failed to predict or imagine such an event happening, then it would be rather unfair to clap the Board in irons for negligence. That's why corps can't be black boxes.

    On a completely unrelated note I finally found where your sig comes from last night, and all I can say is: bite my splintery wooden ass!

  • by HelloKitty ( 71619 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @03:42PM (#21742556) Homepage

    it's a bullshit law. so there's no reason to follow it.
    there's always denyability (i.e. we don't allow IM, so there is no record of it, because it doesn't exist)...
    there's also the "don't incriminate yourself" thing (right to remain silent).

    while we're at it, maybe I should record all conversations I have too. just in case some one want to see wat I've been saying.
    and my brain waves. just in case some lawyer needs to see if I was thinking impure thoughts over the last year.

    like i said. stupid law.
  • by HelloKitty ( 71619 ) on Tuesday December 18, 2007 @03:45PM (#21742590) Homepage
    while we're at it, maybe I should record all conversations I have too. just in case someone wants to know what I've been saying. you just never know.

    and my brain waves too. just in case some lawyer needs to see if I was thinking impure thoughts over the last year.

    I think we could all accept an implanted recording device in our skulls, don't you?

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.