Government Launches Bold New Recovery Effort

By Kurt Leafstrand, Clearwell Systems, Inc. 

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While we don’t normally report news on the blog, this article seemed important enough to repost in its entirety…


SEEKING NEW AVENUE FOR COST-CUTTING, GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES BOLD NEW RECOVERY EFFORT


WASHINGTON — Senior Administration officials today took the wraps off of their latest effort to stabilize the American economy: The nationalization of the electronic discovery industry. According to a senior official who declined to be identified, “Even before the beginning of the current turmoil, everyone acknowledged that electronic discovery costs were out of control. Now, with litigation accelerating and corporate earnings plummeting, something had to be done. Without this action, a significant number of leading American corporations would be in danger of shutting their doors due to the overwhelming burden of e-discovery.”


A Single Common Portal


Effective immediately, all electronic discovery projects are being centralized under a single authority, the National Electronic Record Discovery Institute (NERDI). The Institute will be launching a nationwide electronic discovery portal on April 1, 2009 at www.ediscovery.gov (see demo). The site will build upon the recent success of the government’s economic recovery accountability site, www.recovery.gov. Said one Institute official, “Just drop the ‘r’ and insert a ‘dis’, and you get eDiscovery. It really is the next logical step in the government’s efforts to help the country in a time of profound need.”


Industry experts initially expressed skepticism about the government’s ability to make electronically discoverable information available in an efficient, expedient, and secure manner. Early plans had the government using the U.S. Postal Service and the network of I.R.S. tax return servicing centers as the logistical backbone for managing the collection and processing of documents. However, after negotiations with the National Security Agency, this step was eliminated from the process. Instead, all electronically-generated information in the United States will be instantly processed and made available through the ediscovery.gov site. Commented an NSA spokesman, “We have all the information anyway; why not make it easily accessible, instead of pretending it’s not here?” As for security, officials stated that “individuals can expect the same level of security and identify protection they’ve come to expect from their financial institutions and credit card companies, along with the additional protection and responsiveness they’ve come to expect from the Federal government.”


The Future of the E-Discovery Industry


What will become of the existing electronic discovery industry, made up of hundreds of individual vendors with aggregate revenue estimated to be in the $2-3 billion dollar range? According to a senior-level NERDI director, “One word: toast.” However, a group of industry software vendors and service providers has expressed open skepticism about the ability of a historically incompetent, multilayered bureaucracy to deliver electronic discovery services more effectively than the competitive market.


One vendor pointed out that it will be “difficult for the government to establish itself as a credible player in electronic discovery with millions of White House emails still missing without a trace.” In response, the group of vendors that make up the Top 5 Software and Service Provider lists on the 2008 Socha-Gelbmann survey (Autonomy, Clearwell, Fios, FTI, Guidance, Kroll, and LexisNexis) have announced an immediate consolidation of operations under the name ClearGuideAutoKrolLexFTios. Gloated new incoming CEO Rick Wagoner, “Our expectation is to roll over the government’s efforts like our new name rolls off your tongue.”



 

Comments
(anon) | ‎04-17-2009 10:00 PM

Had me steaming until the last paragraph....

(anon) | ‎12-10-2009 06:55 PM

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