Teaching example

There’s a lot of furor over Hillary’s decision to set up a server at home to handle all her Secretary of State email.  See “Clinton Urged to Break Silence on Email,” Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2015 A4.

How many lessons here?

  • What limits do laws place on your behavior?  Pesky little things like the Federal Records Act and the National Archivist.
  • How important is it to segregate personal emails from work emails; your employer owns the latter, but can look at the former if you put it on the employer’s equipment? What if you commingle, even a little?
  • Don’t forget about backups.  Were there backups?  What happened to them?
  • Who handles security? Physical (the server itself) and Internet?
  • If you delete it, is it really gone?  Maybe, if you control the server and the backup tapes.
  • What information is in the possession, custody, or control of the State Department?  Does this storage location qualify?  Is it therefore subject to subpoenas to the Department of State?  FOIA requests?
  • What about the application of 18 USC Sec. 1519, which the Supremes tell us does not apply to fish?  If something is deleted or modified to influence the administration of an agency of the US government, is there a felony?
  • Who “governs” the collection?  Does the Government make the decision of what’s personal and what’s work, or does the employee?
  • What culture does this behavior indicate?  How would subordinates view this behavior? What about the impact on all the others who saw this happening and did nothing?
  • How many email addresses can you use?  How do you prove who was typing at the time?

Too bad my class is over for the term.  This would have provided a lot of fodder for discussion and inquiry.  Or the perfect exam question.

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Filed under Business Case, Compliance, Controls, Culture, Duty of Care, Governance, Information, IT, Legal, Oversight, Ownership, Ownership, Policy, Records Management, Requirements, Risk, Security

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