Friday, July 30, 2010

We had it all wrong.

We now know that the US intelligence community got the Iran Nukes issue wrong. They are making nukes and it is a major problem for the western world and for our friends in the Middle East. That said, I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “How the CIA Got It Wrong on Iran’s Nukes.” One thing struck me in a kind of way that I can’t explain—“in 2004 a CIA communications officer accidently included data in a satellite transmission to an agent that could be used to identify ‘virtually every spy the CIA had in Iran’. This disastrous error was compounded… because the recipient of the transmission turned out to be a double agent controlled by the Iranian security service. So the Iranians knew the identity of all the agents that the CIA had arduously maneuvered into positions of access, and the technical methods by which the CIA communicated with them… If so, the CIA may have been vulnerable to receiving misleading secret intelligence that Tehran had abandoned its nuclear ambitions in 2004.” OUCH. Are you kidding me. Are you so stupid as to expose the whole operation by attaching the wrong document in one transmission?!?!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Documents are believable.

An allegedly sick terrorist was released from prison because he said he wasn’t feeling well. The guy took down Pan AM flight 103 over Lockerbie Scotland killing 270 innocent people and was a Libyan Agent but what’s the big deal—he was not feeling well so the British let him go. Now there are allegations that BP put pressure on the British government so Libya would give BP oil concessions. Ok, seems really ugly but I got the point. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not.

Now Scotland is asking the US to declassify documents to see what we know about the bad guy, his health and the motivation for Great Britain to let him go. In the end everything is always evidence and the documentary type is usually more believable than say a British politician talking about how sick the guy was. Guess what, the Agent is free walking the streets and not even in a hospital.

Are you kidding me.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Many Thanks

I just completed an amazing trip to China. I was hosted by Renmin University Professor Xiaomi An and had occasion to talk and interact with her students. I spent a lot of time with her graduate students Weakow Wang and Ye Shen. First, when it comes to Information Management they are ahead of the pack. Second, when it comes to navigating China’s bright future, they will play an important role. Finally, when it comes to the deep goodness that makes our world smaller, more connected and joyous, they are some of the reasons why.

China has come so far so fast. China will go even farther with people like Xiaomi, Weakow and Ye Shen. Thanks for opening your world to me and teaching me so much.

Friday, July 23, 2010

If you keep it, it will cost you.

“I am thinking my company would like to be sued and I want to make it as painful as I can.”
“Brilliant. Seems like a prudent plan.”
“What can I do to spend a million dollars or more on discovery?”
“First don’t implement a records program so information will stay around way too long. Then when litigation happens you can do discovery on more stuff, some of it really old.”
“OK. Seems like a perfect plan. By the way, would we ever have to go way back in time for discovery?”
“Sure, if it’s around and potentially relevant you may have to do discovery on it."
"OK, got it.”

In Takeda Pharm. Co. v. Teva Pharm. USA, the litigants had to go back and unearth records 18 years old and it was projected to cost well over a million dollars just to look, excluding lawyer review time. OUCH.

The only way you can clean house and not worry about destruction of evidence claims is have reasonable records retention rules. Many companies (not unlike the ones above) who keep stuff around and don’t apply retention rules, from here on out it only gets more painful and expensive.

How about bringing your record program into 2011 and helping your company out for real.

Are you kidding me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Too much information???

When is information too plentiful? When information is too plentiful does it become less useful? Are you kidding me.

BBC reported today on a Washington Post investigation. Here is some of the conclusion.
“Secret US intelligence gathering has grown so much since 9/11 no-one knows its exact cost, nor how many people are involved, the Washington Post reports.”
According to the Washington Post:
• Some 854,000 US citizens have the highest level of security clearance
• A fifth of the US government's anti-terror organisations have been created since the September 2001 attacks
• More than 250 security bodies have been created or restructured since 9/11
• More than 30 complexes with 17m sq ft of space (1.6 sq m) have been built for top-secret intelligence work in the Washington area since the attacks
• Various agencies publish so many reports these are often ignored by officials

Friday, July 16, 2010

One thought leads to another

I was thinking maybe I would switch careers. I was thinking of opening up a business that drills in deep water for oil might be a good business venture? Thoughts?

I was also thinking about the risk of such a venture. How do you assess risk — number of tolerable failures, severity of a failure, length of a failure, etc. Maybe all of the above. I was also thinking about how the experts in the industry could be helpful to minimize risk on my new venture. And that got me thinking about the Deep Water Horizon failure. And that got me thinking about the email from Halliburton to BP recommending 21 equalizers instead of the 6 that BP used to stabilize the drilling platform, the platform that failed and killed 11 people and caused the greatest environmental disaster the world has ever known. And that got me thinking about records. And that got me thinking that a record is evidence of business activities. And that got me thinking how important one email will be in a liability trial to see who is to blame for the failure. And that got me thinking about a client I talked to recently who wants to get rid of all email WITHOUT regard to its content after 30 days. And that got me thinking about Halliburton’s ability to defend itself without that email, and that got me scared. So, I decided I would just run my lil consulting business and not change careers.

Are you kidding me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Defining Success in Discovery

I was reading an IDC survey about discovery. It stated that 79% of IT executives rate their ability to respond to litigation by finding and producing responsive information as “above average” to “very well prepared”. I don’t care what the survey says and I don’t care what the IT executives believe they are able to do. I don’t believe they are right and in any event, I don’t think they know what success is in the discovery context. Are you kidding me—read the Wall Street Journal and you will realize the defining success in discovery through the eyes of the IT executive is not prudent.

Are you kidding me.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Records Live

A drug that is supposed to help with diabetes is in the hot seat right now as the FDA tries to figure out if it should be pulled from the market. The issue is whether or not the drug increases risk of heart attack. What will decide the drugs fate? RECORDS of the users’ experience and potential side effects will tell the story. Manage records well and the business runs efficiently. Fail to have them and your blockbuster drug is off the market with only expenses and no revenue to show for your effort. Please tell me again why I should care about investing in a Records Program in a down economy.

Are you kidding me.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Social networking and litigation

When litigation happens and it always does, litigants will seek all potentially relevant evidence no matter where it is. Does that include social networking content? Of course. Will they be entitled to it? It depends. But could it be discoverable even if it’s embarrassing? The more the merrier. OK got it. But what if I use Facebook for work and part of my Facebook is personal and the other part is for business. [Message for businesses letting their employees use social networking sites for business. You need to deal with this NOW. Just consulted with a client last week on these issues.] Back to the discovery problem.

In Crispin v. Christian Audigier, Inc. a litigant subpoenaed a few social networking sites for info. While initially the court said they could not get the info from the social networking company because it violated the Stored Communications Act, eventually the court said it was allowed to the extent the information was “not private” but needed to find out what was posted on a wall (thus sort of public) vs. what was private information. The court also looked into privacy settings.

Companies and organizations need rules of the road. Driving without them is stooopid.

Are you kidding me.

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's broken. Let's fix it.

I had a conversation with a colleague yesterday that made me think everything I have already been thinking is not only true, it is truth. He is OLD SCHOOL. Old is pain, lethargy, slow and no longer nimble. School is out for the summer. Change in the information management world is not good, it is essential and foundational. Transformation of the rules that tell us what to do with information is not just needed, it is the only path forward. Without this major transformation in the way we think about information, we will never get the problem under control. Simplicity should not be a guiding force, it must be presumed and the base from which we start. Purest dogma, or anything like it as it relates to how we manage, must be done today so we can start fresh tomorrow. Placing a veil of ignorance on your head(a no brainer for many of us anyway), is the only way to solve the problem without being clouded by past ideas that did not work anyway.
If you don’t understand what I am saying, then let me help you. There are 1800 new exabytes of data that will be created next year which is double the amount of new data created this year. Organizations couldn’t manage the information that they had 5 years ago when volume was way lower-so why will they even have a fighting chance now. ITS TOTALLY BROKEN AND UNFIXABLE. SO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. I WANT YOUR HELP TO CHANGE THE INDUSTRY. ARE YOU IN?