Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2015-04-16 20:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

We had a customer question on whether they should/could disable read receipts in corporate email. There was little business value in their vertical for active use of read receipts (i.e. they did not have a large sales division) and a smart attorney on the stakeholder team thought that they posed more risk than reward. Doug Austin’s blog about Fox v. Leland Volunteer Fire/Rescue Department Inc. is a good read on the potential risks of ‘automatically authenticating’ the fact that a custodian saw a specific message, even if I can think of a dozen scenarios where read receipts falsely report custodian awareness. Shutting down read receipt functionality on Exchange or Office 365 is a simple Powershell Cmdlet:

Get-User | Set-MailboxMessageConfiguration -ReadReceiptResponse NeverSend

Before you fire off an email to your Exchange admin and pat yourself on the back, remember all of those new collaboration platforms like Google+, Yammer, Jabber, FaceBook, LinkedIn, etc. that your potential custodians are flocking to. Most of these systems log when a message has been ‘seen’ in their database. Essentially, collaboration systems have an internal read receipt metadata field that carries the same risks as a formal email receipt. There are some third party apps that can block some of the read receipt type functionality on many messaging platforms. Minimizing the risks and discovery burden associated with read receipts, system logs and other retained automated ESI requires clear policies, controls, education and rigorously enforced expiry of non-record content. Translation:

  • Have a formal, easy process for users to propose new communication methods/technologies
  • Assess requested/proposed systems, features and options with key stakeholders
  • Update policies, periodic training materials and system controls to reflect the acceptable usage
  • Minimize the retention of local conversation history, message logs, etc. on BYOD devices
  • Educate users and hold custodians how to designate records or potentially relevant conversations for preservation when they inadvertently occur

Collaboration platforms are not all bad. They can dramatically reduce the email ‘thrash’ from Reply All tennis matches with huge CC: lists. Some systems can be configured to ensure that extemporaneous chats are just that. Don’t be an eDiscovery ostrich when it comes to messaging.

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. His active research topics include analytics, mobile device discovery, the discovery impact of the cloud, Microsoft’s 2013 eDiscovery Center and multi-matter discovery. Recent consulting engagements include managing preservation during enterprise migrations, legacy tape eliminations, retention enablement and many more.

Blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment. eDJ consultants are not journalists and perspectives are based on public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being posted. Do you want to share your own perspective? eDJ Group is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations. 

P.S. Here is a funny faux press release that Team Chat sent me today. It is not my work, though similarly sarcastic. It is not yet on the web for me to just link to, so here you go:

TEAMCHAT App suspected in recent ?Death of Reply All” case

Enterprise messaging app had motive to eradicate the cumbersome email option

(SAN FRANCISCO) ? Teamchat, the app that has changed enterprise mobile messaging forever, today has been charged with the murder of ?Reply All,? the email feature that inundated inboxes and bogged down business communications across the globe. Reply All was found strangled by a queue of thousands of messages left unanswered.

Police have strong evidence against Teamchat:
For years, Reply All generated clutter, impacting businesses and flooding messaging platforms with innumerable emails, text messages, alerts and notifications. Searching for an aggregate view of team activity ? total sales for the day, call reports and other critical information ? became a nuisance, if not an impossible task. Finding the newest version of an edited document or uncovering the status on a project became the proverbial needle in a haystack. Witnesses say Teamchat simply couldn?t take it anymore and just ?snapped.?

?I think Teamchat just did what everyone else was thinking,? said one witness. ?Standard business communication options, especially Reply All, were driving us crazy. It was only a matter of time before someone got rid of them for good.?

Teamchat, invented by Elance founder Beerud Sheth, eliminates clutter with organized, structured and smart enter prise mobile messaging. Intelligently streamlining communications, the app groups conversations by subject, tallies votes, aggregates sales figures and even prioritizes messages and alerts in an instant. Chat and video applications within Teamchat enable an unlimited number of people to communicate at once while providing a clean means of business communication without reduction of quality, something Reply All could never do.

Sheth, a pioneer in Web 2.0 corporate services, has no regrets about the monster he created.

?Look, I feel bad for Reply All, but it was holding the world back. Everyone, including Teamchat, knew it. Teamchat was just the one willing to get its hands dirty. With Reply All out of the picture, businesses can communicate more effectively and securely without the chaotic nature of other messaging apps.?

Police are allowing reporters to question Sheth at this time to learn more. Teamchat is still at large in both the iOS and Android app stores. Please report any information you have on Teamchat to the appropriate authorities.

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