Electronic Communications Preservation Act — Government’s Attempt to Tame Electronically Stored Information

Finding “what you need when you need it” sounds simple enough, but the dramatic explosion of electronically stored information generated worldwide over the last few years has left individuals, business organizations, and even governments seriously challenged with knowledge management. 

To find what one needs when one needs it, we first must determine what we don’t need and establish a regular and secure process for disposing obsolete information.  I just cleaned my desk this morning, but the amount of time and thought required to clear my inbox or those thousand or so sent messages, is a different proposition altogether.

In the most recent attempt to tame the ESI beast, Congress has proposed a new piece of legislation intended to perserve important emails needed for historical purposes.  The Electronic Communications Preservation Act, introduced by House Democrats, is intended to address the recent problem with missing emails and backup tapes from the Bush Administration.  NARA has concerns with the bill, however, and the Justice Department has its own set of issues relative to legal and regulatory preservation matters.  Congress would be well served in leveraging the substantial expertise NARA and the private sector have to offer in this area.  Taming the ESI beast is not something anyone has achieved with a great deal of success, to date, but it is clearly a major risk area that organizations and governments will need to address and mitigate for many years to come.

For more on this story, see FCW.com.

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