Supreme Court Enforcing U.S. Corporations To Spy On E-Mails and IMs Starting Today

Posted Dec 1, 2006

According to an article on Yahoo! News, the Supreme Court is passing a new federal rule releasing today that instant messages, e-mails, and other forms electronic documentation must be tracked. The Supreme Court approved this rule in April. This way, whenever corporations are sued, there is an archive of electronic documentation that can be retrieved as evidence. If you are currently working for corporate America, I recommend cautiousness. If you are planning on uploading a virus and stealing the company’s money in the form of fractions of a penny and doing it a few million times like the characters in the movie, Office Space, then I highly recommend not discussing it over the corporate e-mail system.

This new rule forces companies to increase investment of electronic storage (i.e. server tapes). If server tapes are overwritten, then it implies that the company is committing “virtual shredding” according to Alvin F. Lindsay, a Hogan & Hartson LLP partner. This appears to be the next form of precaution that is enforced on corporations since Enron with the first form being the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Other expenses include the requirement of the monitoring other forms of data storage devices held by employees such as digital camera phone memory cards. Reviewing the electronic documentation will add up the number of hours in which a lawyer is preparing for a specific case as well.

This reinforcement of electronic data tracking is definitely a negative repercussion for those who are in the corporate world (including myself even though I’m currently not working for a U.S. company). We are being punished because some greedy executives at other companies committed fraud. Another expense that a company will face is that when some employees realize that they are being spied on, it may be the last straw for them and they may lose company loyalty and start their own businesses.

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