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Comment on new laws to prevent document destruction

  • 10 November, 2005 09:22

<p>Individuals or corporations convicted of intentionally destroying documents to prevent evidence being used in court will face up to five years imprisonment under new laws announced yesterday by the Victorian Government.</p>
<p>David Thompson, managing director at records compliance management specialist AXS-One says:</p>
<p>"The ability to produce evidentiary documents is a key part of corporate responsibility in court cases. Companies therefore need to protect themselves from employees who choose to flout the law.</p>
<p>“AXS-One technology provides the automatic transfer and archive of electronic documents (including email) in their original format, into a single repository which retains and manages the data using a global directory. So rather than organisations relying on end users to decide what to retain and running the risk of key documents being intentionally or accidentally deleted, the entire process is managed and enforced by technology without impacting users.</p>
<p>“This repository can be protected with WORM technology (Write Once Read Many) so that documents can be accessed but cannot be altered. A full audit log that tracks who accessed what and when is kept. And the documents can only be destroyed through an AXS-One compliant framework where records are given a retention period (eg seven years for financial records) after which time they can be removed.”</p>
<p>While this is a simplified explanation of the AXS-One technology, a white paper written by Deacons law firm goes into a bit more detail. If you would like a copy, please let me know.</p>
<p>Unique to the AXS-One technology is proactive monitoring, whereby it is possible to centrally supervise emails to quickly identify any with suspicious or inappropriate content. This tool would be useful in finding insider trading, sexual harassment and other workplace relations issues before they blow up to become a legal issue.</p>
<p>As David says, “Companies need to ensure that are able to retrieve corporate records quickly and easily and ensure they are complete and accurate or they may find they are facing a charge of guilty until proven innocent.</p>
<p>“Most companies are overwhelmed by the concept of having to store and provide instantaneous retrieval of vast quantities of data. Today, technology makes this easy, with an AXS-One records compliant management solution making it possible to sort through and accurately find the vital information that will support an investigation, in seconds, rather than days or longer.”</p>
<p>Attorney-General, Rob Hulls said Victoria will be the first State to create a specific document destruction offence whereby a corporation can be prosecuted in circumstances where there was no direct instruction to destroy a document but it was implied by the corporation’s culture.</p>
<p>“If it can be proved the culture of a corporation permitted the destruction of documents that are likely to be required in evidence, that corporation can be found guilty.”</p>
<p>The new offence will be introduced to Parliament next week as part of a package of reforms to protect the administration of justice in Victoria.</p>
<p>Enquiries: AXS-One 1300 887 663</p>

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