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E-Discovery hits the White House?

A little off-topic here, but I find it amusing how e-discovery is quite possibly about to hit Gonzalez Applied to private corporations, e-discovery is a major and expensive undertaking, and has repeatedly revealed embarrassing information about the seamy (or, perhaps, quite normal) underside of corporate life, but when leveled against the government, and the President no less, it suddenly raises issues of governmental transparency. An employee’s emails belong to her employer, so in what way does Gonzalez’s email belong to us? Must it belong to us, as Congressman Waxman seems to be suggesting?

Also mentioned in the NY Times coverage is a former email rentention policy of 30 days (far, far short of the 5 years required of SEC-regulated firms), which apparently was rescinded in favor of manual deletion. Besides the issues raised by the present controversy, what will policies like this do to future Presidential libraries and historians? We fret about our possible future inability to decode our own media, but what about even having any data at all?

I was particularly impressed and amused by Senator Leahy’s comment, quoted in the Globe, “You can’t erase e-mails, not today; they’ve gone through too many servers.” I like a politician who can talk technology.

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  1. […] year I noted that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez’s use of RNC mail servers to conduct business related to the attorney firings scandal posed a serious threat to our […]