December 8, 2006—According to new federal rules that went into effect Dec. 1, schools, businesses, and other organizations are required to keep tabs on all eMail, instant messages (IM), and other digital communications produced by their employees.
The rules, first approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in April, have been widely reported as important for businesses and other for-profit enterprises. But, according to legal experts familiar with the case, the High Court's ruling also applies to public schools and other nonprofit organizations.
The ruling--which states that any entity involved in litigation must be able to produce 'electronically stored information' during the discovery process--the process in which opposing sides of a legal dispute must share evidence before trial--could have significant implications for school technology departments, especially in places where technicians routinely copy over backup discs and other information housed on school servers.
In an interview with eSchool News, Alvin A. Lindsay, a partner with Hogan & Hartson LLP, said that while the law has always required schools, corporations, and other entities to produce certain kinds of documentation as evidence in the discovery process, the latest ruling is an affirmation that eMail messages and electronic documents are part of that mix....
Be sure to read the entire article.