March 13, 2019

Department of Justice Changes Its Ephemeral Messaging Policy

Ephemeral messaging has completely changed how companies communicate around the world. These apps are faster, easier and can be more secure than email. 

But since 2017, companies have had to wonder what’s up with using WhatsApp (and other similar platforms) while cooperating with Department of Justice (DOJ) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) investigations.

Previously, DOJ policy appeared to prohibit companies that wanted to receive full remediation credit for alleged FCPA violations from using these messaging platforms. This discouraged companies from using new texting platforms and created a host of compliance challenges.

But now, companies will be allowed to use these platforms, as long as the proper guidance and controls are set in place that guarantee their document retention polices or legal obligations are being followed.

In a recent interview with Law360, ILR Chief Operating Officer Harold Kim welcomed this policy shift. He said it “reflects the acceleration of technology and will give companies more ability to craft their compliance programs, pursue policies that are risk-based and balance the need to retain business records with the realities of how things are done in a business setting, whether in the U.S. or globally.”

ILR applauds the DOJ for providing clarity to companies that want to keep up with the latest in technology while also ensuring they are complying with the law.


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