The Pentagon has sent a reminder for all personnel that text messages on government-issued devices are covered by the Federal Records act and must not be erased.
“Retention of records as required by the Federal Records Act is a solemn responsibility and legal obligation for all federal employees, civilian and military,” says a memo from deputy secretary Kathleen Hicks.
That law, a covered “record” is “information that is made or received in connection with the transaction of public business that is preserved or appropriate for preservation by an agency. This information provides evidence of government organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other official activities, or is of value to the Department,” it says.
The memo further requires a 30-day review of existing policies for potential changes and orders mobile device service providers in DoD to “capture and save the data resident on DoD-provisioned mobile devices when devices are turned-in by users.”
The memo comes after revelations that phones issued to several senior officials at DoD and DHS had been “wiped” at the end of the Trump administration, as had been phones issued to certain Secret Service officials and agents.