Recovering White House E-Mail Not Easy

April 13, 2007

Robert Brownstone, Law & Technology Director at Fenwick & West, was recently quoted in an article by AP reporter Anick Jesdanun titled, "Recovering White House e-Mail Not Easy."

Stories about the challenges of eDiscovery started circulating after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont balked at the Bush administration's claims that e-mails related to a senate investigation might have been lost. In response, Senator Leahy quipped "I've got a teenage kid in my neighborhood that can go get 'em for them."

When asked by the AP about Senator Leahy's remark, Brownstone said "I would not say that any teenager could do it, but I would say there are many, many highly qualified computer forensics experts." He said "whether they will find every deleted message is doubtful but they should find quite a bit."

Brownstone also noted that many organizations retain backups longer than intended because of inertia: They simply don't get around to tossing the copies past their scheduled retention times.

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