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things a company might not view as a business record worthy of preservation “could be viewed quite differently in the context of a government investigation”. For example, messages discussing logistical information such as meeting locations, times and participants might not be viewed by a company as substantive business records, but in an FCPA investigation, the DOJ could view such communications as potentially important to understand the circumstances at issue. Both stressed that it is of utmost


importance that organisations proactively implement compliance controls for communications and messaging platforms. Murphy-Johnson explained: “What has been made very clear is that the DOJ expects those procedures to be in place before an FCPA investigation begins.” It is important that organisations


position on the use of messaging applications. Instead of referencing a prohibition, it now requires organisations to implement appropriate guidance and controls over such systems. The 2019 revision reads as follows: “The


following items will be required for a company to receive full credit for timely and appropriate remediation... Appropriate retention of business records, and prohibiting the improper destruction or deletion of business records, including: implementing appropriate guidance and controls on the use of personal communications and ephemeral messaging platforms that undermine the company’s ability to appropriately retain business records or communications or otherwise comply with the company’s document retention or legal obligations.”


Out of touch with realities Murphy-Johnson said: “Given that [messaging] technology seems to have overtaken the pace at which these policies could be implemented, the original provision did not necessarily reflect the realities of contemporary business practice. This is an extremely common way for people to communicate these days and an


www.heavyliftpfi.com


What has been made very clear is that the DOJ expects those procedures to be in place before an FCPA


investigation begins. – Dawn Murphy-Johnson ,


Miller & Chevalier Chartered May/June 2019


outright prohibition on using those applications would be harsh.” Lankford noted, however, that many


undertake a risk assessment to understand how messaging apps and other non-traditional communications platforms are used in a company’s operations. Written guidance should be put in place, based on the company’s risk assessment, detailing when the use of a messaging platform is appropriate, how data on these applications can be accessed and retained, and under what circumstances it is permissible to destroy communications. The company’s employees should be


made aware of these procedures via internal training and communications programmes. The effectiveness of this policy control should be monitored and tested, and any shortcomings addressed.


Logistics standpoint From a logistics industry standpoint, companies should specifically consider the extent to which communications controls extend to agents working on the company’s behalf. For example, logistics companies may consider contractually obligating agents to use certain means of communicating with company employees to help ensure that business records are appropriately retained. It is also practical to consider that while


the above relates primarily to messaging services, the revised DOJ policy is worded broadly, and may also apply to various other communication tools that have entered the business arena in recent years – most notably file sharing services such as Dropbox and WeTransfer. Companies’ communications controls should therefore take care to address the full range of non-traditional communications platforms used by employees.


HLPFI 49


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