Wot no e-Discovery? (The Economist on information management)

There’s a special section in this week’s Economist on information management, entitled Data, Data Everywhere. It’s always good when your area of interest and coverage is on the cover of such an illustrious magazine. However, I read it and downloaded the PDF (which you can do as a subscriber) and searched that, and to my surprise there are two significant words close to my heart that don’t appear anywhere in the report. They are:

  • discovery (as a short hand for e-Discovery, or just on its own)
  • governance (as in information governance)

I know the author, Kenneth Cukier, he’s an excellent technology journalist and thinker with years of experience (we both spent perhaps way too long at the various meetings that hosted the various fights for control of the internet’s domain name system (DNS) in the 90s that led to the creation of ICANN).

Ken’s focus in the report was more on the data deluge created by the internet and how that affects individuals, mainly in the context of being a consumer, exploring issues such as personal privacy, and how companies such as Google and Wal-Mart manipulate ans profit from data. There was very little talk about the problems that creating, storing, searching, archiving and deleting information imposes on companies.

And although there is a section on new regulatory constraints, it was again focused mainly on privacy, personal information as a property right, and the integrity of information held about individuals by corporations, with a token nod on the need to preserve digital records, but again looking at it from a consumer’s perspective.

All important topics, for sure. But not the one that a lot of companies are spending a lot of money grappling with now and in the future.

Now I’m not naive, and didn’t expect a multi-page spread on litigation support or an exploration of what early case assessment means in a weekly magazine with such a broad readership as the Economist! But I thought that given that e-Discovery and more recently, information governance are shooting up the list of priorities of many CIOs (the ‘i’ does stand for information, after all) as realize that without appropriate litigation readiness and information governance in place they could find themselves in a financial and legal sinkhole, I thought it warranted at least a paragraph or two among the 14 pages of text.

Update: Clearwell’s CEO Aaref Hilaly posted something on the same subject at almost the same time as me.

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#1 e-discovery 2.0 » Blog Archive » Electronic Discovery, EDiscovery, E-Discovery, Legal Discovery on 03.04.10 at 3:26 am

[…] Nick Patience at The 451 Group has also posted on this topic, at almost exactly the same time as me. Share this post on […]

#2 limewire on 04.29.10 at 9:27 pm

lmao cool stuff man.

#3 NYC924 on 05.17.11 at 5:45 am

I emailed the editor of The Economist; he had Ken respond to me personally. I respect his position-now-this issue…way out of his league!

He was defensive, allowed no room for the possssssibility he missed the big picture…