When is a record no longer a record?

If you are looking to invest, it would be nice to know if the broker who has been recommended to you has a history of complaints by his/her customers or employers.  If you are the prospective broker, it would be good to be able to present a clean record, even if your record isn’t clean.

“Brokers Purge Their Records,” The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2018 B1. Brokers can request that complaints be expunged from the records of the industry-funded regulator.  So, were you to ask you would be told there’s no record.

So, what is a clean record worth, when a dirty record can be so easily laundered?  I guess there may be multiple definitions of “record,” one of which is documentation of a business activity or decision, and the other of which is a conviction.

On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.


Filed under Access, Accuracy, Controls, Definition, Information, Records Management, Third parties, Value

2 responses to “When is a record no longer a record?

  1. What is defined as a record or not is irrelevant when any piece of information may be kept and used as evidence. While context is important in understanding how a piece of data fits into a decision, contextualizing a piece of data may be easier with the amount of data being created from IoT devices and analyzing it with Big Data tools. So, not having metadata for a specific set of data points may not be as detrimental if context can be arrived at by a multiplicity of ways. So even if a “record” is purged it may never be regardless of the retention…especially since Google is keeping something somewhere all the time…

    • Salvador:

      Thanks for the comment.

      I agree that, in one sense, the concept,of a “record” is quickly passing out of date. But if you look at a “record” as a document or other information that must be kept for a minimum period, I suspect that will remain. Yes, Google captures a lot of information and retains it forever. But that is different than an entity’s legal,obligation to keep certain information for minimum periods. This is being eroded by emerging privacy laws and the “right to be forgotten.”

      I speak a lot to records managers and they generally think in terms of records; the rest of the world doesn’t, for the most part. I try to avoid the term, as it is losing any meaning it had in the paper world.

      But in this post I was making a play on words, using “record” in the sense of a conviction or documented history of malfeasance.



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