If you want to determine whether an email management solution “complies” with the ECT Act, then these are the questions that you should be asking:
- Is it capable of storing records in a trustworthy manner?
- Does the product protect the integrity, reliability, accessibility and accuracy of information throughout its lifespan?
- Does the product verify the accuracy of information during the recording process?
- Does the product provide long term content access?
- Does the product support records retention and disposition functionality?
- Is the original meta data such as sender, recipient, time and date retained with the stored email?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then it is a good email management solution from a legal perspective.
Read this article to find out why these are the questions to ask.
The relevant sections of the ECT Act are the following:
Admissibility and evidential weight of emails (section 15)
It is best to read the section yourself.
Retention (section 16)
Section 16 states that:
“Where a law requires information to be retained, that requirement is met by retaining such information in the form of a data message, if-
(a) the information contained in the data message is accessible so as to be usable for subsequent reference;
(b) the data message is in the format in which it was generated, sent or received, or in a format which can be demonstrated to represent accurately the information generated, sent or received“
Production of a document or information (section 17)
Section 17 states that:
“where a law requires a person to produce a document or information, that requirement is met if the person produces, by means of a data message, an electronic form of that document or information, and if-
(a) considering all the relevant circumstances at the time that the data message was sent, the method of generating the electronic form of that document provided a reliable means of assuring the maintenance of the integrity of the information contained in that document; and
(b) at the time the data message was sent, it was reasonable to expect that the information contained therein would be readily accessible so as to be usable for subsequent reference.
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the integrity of the information contained in a document is maintained if the information has remained complete and unaltered, except for-
(a) the addition of any endorsement; or
(b) any immaterial change, which arises in the normal course of communication, storage or display.“