DAVID – Archiving e-mail


DAVID – Archiving e-mail

DAVID Archiving e-mail

she cannot delete certain e-mails. Public administrations can refer in their e-mail policy for example to

the Archive Act and the Access Laws.

2. Access to e-mail facilities and personal usage

More and more guidelines about personal usage of the e-mail system appear in existing e-mail policies.

They limit the usage of personal e-mail traffic or exclude it completely. These policies usually worry

about the organisation’s productivity and want to ban unproductive e-mail traffic from the organisation.

Ensure that these guidelines also consider the archiving aspect, for example by stipulating that personal

e-mail traffic needs to take place via a separate e-mail address. To respect the end user’s freedom to

communicate it is recommended to allow some private usage of the e-mail facilities but to make clear

that all e-mail in the electronic mailbox will be considered to be functional e-mail.

An administration not only needs to determine who receives e-mail facilities under what conditions, it

also needs to oblige those end users that possess e-mail facilities to check their electronic mailbox for

incoming messages on a regular basis. This will assure treatment of correspondence within a reasonable

term. The European Code of good administrative behaviour determines that for each letter the

administration receives a receipt should be sent within two weeks.

3. The reasonable expectation of privacy

The previous part has demonstrated that there are two conflicting interests: the end user’s right to privacy

and the organisation’s right (and often duty) to possess a well-structured and complete archive. The end

user’s privacy will need to be touched in any case. That is why it is important for the end user to realise

what he can expect as far as privacy is concerned.

Clearly indicate whether the organisation reserves the right to check the content of the electronic mailbox

for archiving purposes and if so (this will be the case for all large organisations) how the permission of

those involved will be asked. Make clear that the organisation will consider all e-mails found in the

electronic mailbox to be records belonging to the organisation (see below). This will reduce the risk of a

possible violation of the right to privacy. It has become clear that judges attribute great importance to

privacy clauses in e-mail policies.

Also indicate the end user’s responsibility towards the privacy policy, for example by the obliged use of

a fixed clause. Realise that in some cases the permission of all those involved in the communication

cannot be obtained for example because they are unknown or because the sender contacts the

organisation spontaneously and for the first time.


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