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Email archiving and national security

When it comes to email communications, international governments across the world rely on it just as much as any other business. Recent news stories from the United States have concerned Governor Jeb Bush using his private email account to discuss security and military issues (mainly troop deployments in the Middle East and the protection of nuclear plants) and whether former US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, violated the law by using a personal email account.

During President George W. Bush’s administration, his office managed to amass over 200 million emails throughout its eight year term. All of these emails needed to be stored for security reasons and as historical records.

It was reported in 2013 that these emails would be released to library archivists who were charged with archiving this trove of electronic communication. The main issue that arose was that 200 million emails could not be archived without being checked thoroughly for sensitive information. They had to be swept for political communications and anything that could be considered an issue of national security.

However, the access and restrictions placed on these emails were purely a policy issue. For any government, deciding who has access to important information is down to those who set email guidelines i.e. judges, lawyers and other Presidents. No one wants to be misquoted or have something taken out of context.

In order to make any retrieval issue as simple as possible, a technical solution is best. eDiscovery processes can be streamlined and work more efficiently to find a specific message among millions of emails. With a solid email policy in place, security can be assured and important communications are unlikely to be leaked.

Email archiving works best when incorporated with an email policy. Then, there is no confusion about which emails are stored securely and protocols can be put in place to mitigate any risks to lost data.