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Subject: Summary on Office 2003 (long)
From: "Mallory, Alicia" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 30 Oct 2003 09:55:50 -0600

text/plain (86 lines)

Good morning from sunny Austin, TX:

I haven't been able to actually test Office 2003, but I've done a some
reading, and here is my understanding thus far:

1. Oct. 19, The BBC reports that e-mails won't be deleted permanently.  They
would be "retained on the sender's computer, and in corporate networks
copies would be kept on the back-up tapes of mail servers."

So, it looks like deleting e-mails through Information Rights Management
won't truly purge them, possibly giving users a false sense of security.  It
might also leave messages available for discovery.  For those in government,
Open Records/FOI requests may also be an issue.  Last night a friend who
used to work for MS also reminded me that an electronic audit trail of the
message having been created, stored, then deleted would probably remain even
if the message was purged.  Of course, the mere fact that a message was
deleted doesn't necessarily mean that a person can infer what the content of
that message was.

2. To use IRM in Office 2003 an IT shop must also be running WRM (Windows
Rights Management) on a Windows 2003 server.  It doesn't appear that IRM is
an out of the box function of Office 2003, but must be installed and
configured. (Thanks for that link, Chris Gorey!)

3. Oct. 27, Microsoft's Jeff Raikes indicates to CNET news that it's the
intent that matters.

"Now, what we can do is offer customers the ability to set permissions on
their documents. We're not trying to come up with something that's
foolproof... It's a mechanism for people to express their intent. That's the
way to think about it. If I send you a document, and you want to go over to
a copy machine and copy it, you can do that. But if I set the permission to
'do not print, copy or forward,' I was obviously expressing something to you
about my intent for how you would handle that content. In a business
environment, given the incredible growth in information, the incredible flow
of information that occurs, giving people the ability to express that intent
is important.",39020481,39117411-4,00.htm

4. Oct. 27, The UK's online publication reports: "When an email
using IRM is sent to someone using a different email system, the recipient
will not be able to open the message, said Microsoft."

It looks like Information Rights Management gives organizations a means to
keep confidential and privileged information away from unauthorized users
without using third-party software, but there is a price.  Compatibility is
an issue; sending IRM enabled messages outside of an Office 2003 enabled
organization may not work.

5. A Slashdot user pointed out that software vendors who try and create a
fix for this may be in violation of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright

6. However, the same Oct. 17 CNET article which brought the above to my
attention counters that:
"the entire system is based on an emerging Internet standard called XrML, a
rights expression language that defines the digital information policies
allowing users of trusted systems within a trusted environment to define the
rights users should have with the documents they produce. Their concerns are
based on ignorance, not knowledge ... Any platform that implements the XrML
standard and can access the Web services that deliver the necessary licenses
can access the underlying document.",2000029587,20279841,00.

I hope these tidbits help quell the fear.  I think if we arm ourselves with
information about these new systems, the easier it will be for us to
intelligently discuss this with IT and management when the time comes.

"I do not fear computers. I fear lack of them." - Isaac Asimov

Alicia Mallory
Records Retention Analyst
Teacher Retirement System of Texas

Opinions expressed here are my own, and not necessarily the views of my

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