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Text messaging and the importance of a records retention policy

February 13, 2008

Text messaging and the importance of a records retention policy

American Bar Association, February 4, 2008

If you’re like most on-the-go people these days, you’ve probably sent and received your fair share of text messages. After all, according to an article by Detroit Free Press columnist Mike Wendland, approximately 20 billion text messages are sent each month within the United States. With that said, you can imagine the increased concern about records retention policies. Just like emails and other forms of electronic data, text messages are a form of communication that need to be preserved and safely stored for future legal needs.

Take, for example, the current battle with City of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. According to the Detroit Free Press, text messages exchanged between the mayor and his chief of staff suggest they had an affair and that Kilpatrick fired two police offers in an act of retaliation. This all contradicts what Kilpatrick claimed earlier while under oath and records of these text messages could prove crucial in the case.

Whatever the truth may be in the Detroit case, it is only one example of many reiterating the importance of establishing record retention policies. Without them, important records can easily be deleted, making truth sometimes nearly impossible to prove….even when someone as prominent as a city mayor is involved.

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