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Subject: Text Messaging Policy
From: Sharon Blackstock <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 24 Sep 2013 22:09:55 +0000

text/plain (23 lines)

Greetings from Colorado! I have been resting from the listserv for a very long time and have missed you all, but alas, I have returned and want your advice and counsel. I searched the archives to see if this discussion has occurred and I'm sure I've blown it because I can't believe it hasn't, so here goes ... (my apologies if you've talked this to death; just point me to the right words for searching)

We have been having a conversation in our organization about text messaging. Many employees have city-issued mobile phones (I do not) and many have personal mobile phones which they use to communicate when out in the field on city business. I'm working with a team on a variety of policy issues related to records. Our IT director maintains that text messages cannot be captured or archived because they are hosted by a service provider over which the city has no control and that any policy we adopt should advise employees not to use texting for city business; use email instead. 

I'm looking for help from anyone who has addressed this issue from a policy standpoint. My mind is stuck on a couple of things, such as the definition of a record: "any writing ... in the course of business" (you know the drill) and yet I understand and agree with the IT director's position. Most text messages are nothing, but if they rose to the level of needing to be retained for record purposes, we would be stuck with either collecting the phone itself or taking screen shots (iPhones do this, not sure about all others). I can only imagine confiscating a phone for some type of criminal matter and that's a whole other issue. 

Email is preferred because it can be captured (as long as either the sender or receiver is using the city email system). His point is that the city is protected if we have a policy prohibiting the use of texting for business purposes. I'm thinking that just because we declare something not a record doesn't necessarily make it so. And ... the IT director and I agree that the proposed policy is unenforceable, but he still thinks it's the right way to go. 

OK, friends, have at it!! Clearly I need help! My profound thanks in advance.

Sharon G. Blackstock, CRM


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