Freedom of Information Act – Hillary Clinton Controversy

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Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty

Keeping Citizens in the Know!

Jessica Bakkers – Waterford Technologies

Early this March, the former U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was reportedly using a non-”state.gov” email account during her time in office. She hosted a private email server in her New York home which she used for personal emails as well as conducting official government business. Controversy over Clinton’s emails have raised questions as to why she utilized her own server and if Clinton was attempting to hide any correspondence from the public’s view.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Government officials are required to comply with federal record-keeping regulations. According to the United States Department of Justice, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), “is a law that gives you the right to access information from the federal government. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.”

After it was discovered Clinton was using a personal email server, she was asked to turn over her emails to a House committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi attack. Out of all the emails that passed through her email server, Clinton and her staff determined that roughly 50,000 emails were government-related emails. The rest that were deemed personal emails were then deleted. It should go without saying that under no circumstance is it wise to allow an individual user to assess the relevancy of emails to the organization.

In light of this high profile email compliance case brought on by Mrs. Clinton, many people are not aware of the importance of email archiving. For this very reason many businesses, government sectors, schools, financial institutions, etc., are employing powerful email archiving software. The beauty of email communication is that we are able to communicate with people, clients and businesses all over the world in a matter of seconds. The high volume of emails bring in a high volume of potential discovery requests. Many companies are required to comply with regulations that make past emails accessible for legal reasons.

It is up to the organization as well as the individual to abide by compliance regulations to protect themselves. By issuing business email addresses and following the best email archiving practices,

your company can meet regulatory requirements by:

  • securely storing emails in a tamper-proof archive
  • retrieve emails easily and efficiently
  • deliver reports within 24 hours
  • produce audit trails to better manage records and information