Judge: White House Defies Data-Purge Order Wired News Report 3:05pm 10.Apr.98.PDT The White House has "flagrantly violated" a court order prohibiting the erasure of computer files without first declaring its intentions to allow time for protest, a federal judge said, reaffirming an order he issued in October. US District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman's order was directed at the National Archives but also prevented the White House and the Office of the US Trade Representative from spiking data at will. The government contends that forcing agencies to save all computer data, including millions of email messages, could grind networks to a halt or crash computers entirely. "We consider that doomsday hyperbole," said Page Putnam Miller, director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History. That was one of the many groups that challenged a 1995 directive from National Archivist John Carlin that permitted federal agencies to destroy computer records without approval of the National Archives as long as they made paper copies. Judge Friedman on Thursday agreed with the data-savers' contention that paper records often do not reflect all that a computer record can yield, like information about who made changes to a document. He directed the National Archives to devise a permanent plan for dealing with electronic records by 30 September. "Electronic records are rarely identical to their paper counterparts," the judge said.
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