In City of Ontario v. Quon, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the Ontario, Calif., Police Department did not violate Quon's rights when it searched and read the text messages he sent and received using department-issued devices. The court said Quon's expectation that the messages would remain private was unreasonable, especially since Quon frequently exceeded the limit on number of messages, most of the messages were personal, and all were sent and received on department-issued devices.
Since the decision came down last month -- heck, probably since the whole Tiger Woods infidelity scandal broke or even before -- we've known the day was coming when we'd see an influx of text message archiving solutions as software shops work to meet the increasing demand. After all, as the lawsuit illustrates, text messages, just like social networks and instant messages and e-mail before them, are a hotbed of risk for any company.
It only makes sense, then, that companies want to limit that risk as much as possible, by establishing appropriate use policies for company devices, and by taking the opportunity to monitor that use when and if they have reason to do so.
Smarsh is the latest company to add text messages to its electronic communications archiving and compliance solutions. According to company information, technology from TextGuard allows Smarsh customers to "capture, index, monitor, preserve and produce SMS text messages...for regulatory audits, e-discovery requests and other corporate governance."
The offering supports BlackBerry, Android, Windows Mobile and iPhone operating systems. CEO Steve Marsh notes:
More than 822 billion text messages were sent and received in the last half of 2009 in the U.S. - roughly 5 billion per day...By extending the Smarsh archiving and compliance suite to include mobile messages, we're providing businesses with a secure and effective compliance and policy enforcement solution that covers communications across all electronic channels