If you’re like me, you’ve read many e-mail and other records management policies stating that an employee should not expect any privacy when using a workplace computer (i.e. a computer owned by his/her employer).
Many organizations are likely revising their policies to prohibit the personal use of workplace computers as a result of a recent Supreme Court of Canada decision (R. v. Cole) stating the workplace environment diminishes – but does not completely remove – an employee’s reasonable expectation of privacy.
This criminal case involved a high school teacher (Richard Cole) who was provided with a school-issued laptop computer that he could also use for incidental personal purposes. After a technician performing routine maintenance discovered nude photos of a female student on the computer, the school copied the images and turned them (and the computer) over to police who charged the teacher with possession of child pornography and unauthorized use of a computer. The trial judge refused to admit the files into evidence on the basis that they were obtained without a search warrant in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guards against unreasonable search and seizure. However, the Ontario Court of Appeal partially overturned that decision. For more information on these decisions (and the Supreme Court decision), click here.
The legal issue before the Supreme Court was whether the police conducted a warrantless search of the computer in violation of the Charter. After assessing whether the employee had a reasonable expectation of privacy, the court ruled that employees have limited rights to privacy for personal information on workplace computers, as long as personal use is “permitted or reasonably expected.” The court also ordered the teacher to face a new trial.
While the implementation of revised policies prohibiting the personal use of workplace computers will simplify things on a day-forward basis, organizations which previously allowed incidential personal use of workplace computers will have to grapple with a backlog of work and personal content on those devices for the foreseeable future. And that backlog will pose a challenge in e-discovery, as stated in Zblog (the blog of the WortzmanNickle law firm): “This decision will impact on the collection practices of organizations engaged in the discovery phase for litigation, regulatory investigation or audit. The right of an employer to simply collect all information on workplace digital devices, once believed to be unfettered, will have to be examined in light of this decision.”
Join me in Ottawa on January 23, 2013 at Infonex’s Managing E-Records in Canada’s Public Sector conference as I co-present “When the E-Doc is the Official Record: Developing Procedures and Determining What to Do with Paper” with Iona Mitchell from the Ontario College of Teachers.
This case study will explore how the Membership Records Unit is implementing a new policy declaring the electronic document the official document of the College. It will also discuss new/revised protocols and processes for managing paper source documents including scanning standards, quality assurance, security, and disaster prevention and recovery. And it will address the disposition of paper documents that were digitized prior to the development and implementation of the new/revised procedures.
The early bird registration deadline (a $300 savings) ends on Friday (Dec. 21). For more information or to register, please visit http://www.infonex.ca/1047/overview.shtml
Records and information management (RIM) professionals know the many benefits of good RIM practices. They also know that benefits such as fast, efficient information retrieval and the on-time and secure disposition of valueless records are particularly important for organizations preparing for civil litigation.
The importance of good RIM practices to successful electronic discovery (e-discovery) in civil litigation is reinforced by the placement of ‘information management’ as the first stage in The Electronic Discovery Reference Model (EDRM). In that model, ‘information management’ is defined as “Getting your electronic house in order to mitigate risk & expenses should e-discovery become an issue, from initial creation of electronically stored information through its final disposition.” In a nutshell, the EDRM prescribes the lifecycle management of electronic information as the driver for successful e-discovery.
I recently attended an ARMA Prince Edward Island Chapter seminar which reinforced the symbiotic relationship between good RIM practices and e-discovery. Entitled, “Litigation – One (Frustrating) Piece in the Lifecycle of Electronic Records”, the presentation reviewed the civil litigation process, discussed discovery and e-discovery, and talked about the need to manage privacy in civil litigation. The presenter was Kelly Friedman, a Toronto-based lawyer and Chair of the Sedona Canada Steering Committee responsible for creating forward-looking principles and best practice recommendations for lawyers, courts, businesses, and others who regularly confront e-discovery issues in Canada.
What I found particularly interesting was Ms. Friedman’s discussion of the lack of litigation readiness (i.e. the ability to meet basic discovery obligations efficiently and cost-effectively) in many organizations and the ways in which lawyers try to compensate for the lack of such readiness. Ms. Friedman also emphasized the importance of good RIM practices to litigation readiness by placing “a mature records management policy that is implemented with automation” as the first element in her ‘gold standard in litigation readiness’.
You can view Ms. Friedman’s presentation on the ARMA PEI Chapter website. Go to www.armapei.org and select ‘Thanks for a Successful Seminar’ in the ‘What’s New’ column on the right, or download the pdf directly from here.
On April 16, 2013 I will co-present an introduction to records management as part of The Osgoode Certificate in E-Discovery, Records Management, Information Governance and Privacy, a new 5-day certificate program. Along with Susan Nickle of Wortzman Nickle Professional Corporation, I will give an overview of records management practice which includes:
- Why best eDiscovery practices start at records management
- The business case for sound records management
- How to go about setting up a records management policy
The certificate focuses on key areas in eDiscovery: records management and information governance; privilege, privacy and confidentiality concerns in the context of eDiscovery; preserving, identifying and collecting electronically stored information (ESI); and culling, analysing, processing and reviewing ESI. The program concludes with an analysis of forensic essentials.
Although designed for judges, lawyers in private practice, in-house counsel, and other legal professionals such as Litigation Support Specialists and Court Clerks, it may also be of interest to Records and IT System Specialists, Compliance and Risk Managers, and Information and Privacy Officers.
This spring I will once again be teaching 4 certificate courses at the University of Toronto’s iSchool Institute. The iSchool Institute is the Faculty of Information’s continuing education arm at U of T, and offers two certificate programs in Records Management: Records Management Fundamentals and Records Management Practice. The certificates are offered several times a year in Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton and on the web.
The four courses I will be teaching in Toronto this April and May are as follows:
Records Management Fundamentals Certificate
- April 17: Records Inventory
- April 18: Records Retention Scheduling
Records Management Practice Certificate
- May 6: Law for Records Managers
- May 10: Records Management in a Changing Environment
The RM Fundamentals Certificate includes 3 additional courses and the RM Practice Certificate includes 2 additional courses. For more information about the courses and certificates, or to register, please visit The iSchool Institute.
On February 7, 2013 I will be presenting on the records management implications of social media at the upcoming 3rd annual Winter Summit of the Canadian Society of Association Executives (Trillium Chapter). For more information you can view the conference brochure or visit the CSAE chapter website.
The Records and Information Management Implications of Social Media
Many associations are exploring or using social media (e.g. blogs, social networks such as Facebook, etc.) to support their member recruitment and retention strategies. This presentation will provide an overview of social media technologies: their strengths, weaknesses and potential uses.
It will also identify the records and information management (RIM) implications of social media technologies by answering such questions as, “What information can (or should) an association communicate via social media?”, “Is such information an association record?”, “How long should the information be kept?” and “How can the information be accessed if/when needed in the future?”
Attend this session to learn how to incorporate RIM best practices in your association’s plans for managing information communicated via social media.
I will be returning to Charlottetown, PEI on May 3, 2013 to present “Strategic Planning for Records and Information Management Professionals”. The event is being organized by the ARMA PEI chapter. You can read more about the event on their website. Here is a short description:
Implementing a strategic plan provides direction and momentum, prioritizes activities to make the most of limited resources, and raises the visibility of Information Management. But if you don’t plan to measure the performance of your Information Management strategy, how can you ensure it delivers the promised results? Speaker Sheila Taylor, CRM, shares her extensive knowledge on the Information Management strategic planning process.
After attending this interactive session, you’ll be ready to:
- Apply the steps in the strategic planning process to draft an information management strategic plan for your organization.
- Differentiate between a strategic plan and an operational plan.
- Recognize the importance of measuring information management strategy performance.
- Develop and implement performance measures to support the successful implementation of an information management strategy.
Since the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published the first portable document format/archive (PDF/A) standard in 2005, PDF/A has been heralded by recorded information management professionals and archivists as a mechanism for the secure, long-term preservation of electronic documents. PDF/A, a subset of the ubiquitous PDF format, doesn’t depend on external programs or information to be displayed. All information in a PDF/A file is entirely self-contained with the elimination of standard PDF features such as font linking which are not conducive to long-term archiving.
In the continued development of the standard, the ISO recently published ISO 19005-3:2012 Document management — Electronic document file format for long-term preservation — Part 3: Use of ISO 32000-1 with support for embedded files (PDF/A-3). The standard is available for purchase from the ISO.
According to the ISO, PDF/A-3 “specifies the use of the Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.7, as formalized in ISO 32000-1, for preserving the static visual representation of page-based electronic documents over time in addition to allowing any type of other content to be included as an embedded file or attachment.”
What this means is that a complete archived object in PDF/A may now include embedded files or attachments in formats such as XML, CAD, wordprocessing documents, imaging, etc. This is a major change from PDF/A-2 which allows embedded files, but only of the PDF/A variety.
Some e-mail messages are critically important, others much less so. All of us struggle – every day – to tame a never-ending flow of messages. How can we better manage the flow?
Over the years, I’ve read several articles about how to master (tame) your InBox. A recent article that really caught my attention is The 9 Simple Rules Of Email Mastery by Ian Bell. He’s a Vancouver-based entrepreneur with 13 years’ experience in building and helping technology startups in the U.S. and Canada.
His article offers several thought-provoking tips for better managing your e-mail, including several tips for training your colleagues. One tip is to train your colleagues to use SMS/ iMessage/BBM instead of e-mail for all urgent communications. Another is to train them to not CC or BCC you on a mesage because all such messages will be filtered to sub-folders and ignored.
While you may take exception to some of his tips and cringe at his ignorance of IM best practice (he boasts that his archive folder contains every e-mail he’s read since 2000!), he should be commended for recommending you ‘separate church and state’ by never, ever sending e-mails to friends and family from your work account and training them to not send messages to that account either.