I have received offline comments that indicate that my recent post to
the list and my position in respect to the email destruction and other
controls in the new Microsoft Office 2003 product may be inappropriate,
"its great fun to jump on the bandwagon and beat up on Microsoft for
offering a product that will delete email messages. But, they are not,
repeat, not the first company selling a product that will delete email
messages, nor will it be the last. "
To expand on my view in relation to the new Microsoft Office 2003
features I wish to put my position on record.
It is correct that Microsoft is an easy target but they control the
computing world with their range of Windows products and I believe
Microsoft is not a special case where comment on their activities is
verboten. I listened to Bill Gates on TV in the last week and he stated
[if I recall correctly] that Microsoft has around 450 Million user's
world wide of Windows and I assume similar numbers of the Office
With this degree of penetration Microsoft hold immense power and I
believe personally that this email control feature in the latest version
of Office 2003 should be removed from the software. From little acorns
etc, may apply here.
The ability for the sender to decide that an email can be destroyed
after a certain period of time is against all the principles we [the RM
& IM profession] have been trying to address since the mass introduction
of the PC and probably before this time. The introduction of the
personal PC and with it the disappearance of many central records
sections, the typing pool and the secretaries, to all but the powerful
few in executive positions is seen by many as the point of change and
the subsequent failure to capture an organisations information in a
structured, retrievable and risk aversion manner.
This ability in Office 2003 to stop the printing, copying, resending and
to set a timeframe for the destruction of the email could be a bigger
disaster to good governance at all levels of corporate and government
organisations than any previous event.
My biggest surprise is that the legal profession, government and
business are not taking action in the courts to stop the distribution
and sale of the Microsoft Office 2003 product with this feature
The concept of the unwarranted and unauthorised destruction of
electronic and physical information with resent events e.g. Enron &
Arthur Andersen and others has the regulatory bodies & the United States
Government scrambling and instituting very strict legislation and
guidelines to address this abuse. This reaction is having implications
world wide with similar corporate collapses occurring here in Australia
and in recognition of the new US legislation the Australian government
has introduced new financial legislation.
In my humble opinion this email destruction feature being promoted by
Microsoft in its Office 2003 product has the potential to cause greater
harm than all of the resent abuses combined with the illegal destruction
of organisational data.
My 20 cents worth.
Mr Daniel Lawrance [Laurie] Varendorff, ARMA
A Records Management Professional, and proud of the fact!
Consultant/Trainer/Tutor/Presenter: Records and Information Management
Imaging and Micrographic Specialist: 29 years experience
The Varendorff Consultancy
ABN: 77 836 801 165
27 Ronneby Rd, Lesmurdie, Western Australia 6076 - AUSTRALIA
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