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Monday, January 21, 2008

The White House Recycled Backup Tapes and Lost Important Email Records

In previous careers I was an IT consultant that helped many organizations implement data archiving and retention systems. I find it utterly amazing that one of the most important offices in our government had an apparently lax attitude about preserving important records. Several information sources are reporting very similar stories, with this quote by the White House CIO typical:

A sworn statement by the Chief Information Officer of the White House Office of Administration filed with U.S. federal court just before midnight admitted the White House had recycled its e-mail back-up tapes before October 2003 and only began retaining the back-ups starting at that point.
Various sources estimate that millions of emails have been lost because over 470 tapes were recycled and there was no proactive archive solution in place. This fiasco is sure to put a very public spotlight on the need to archive our digital correspondence.

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