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Texts are Records?!

by | Aug 30, 2022

Were you surprised that the Secret Service’s cellphone texts are considered records, and that Alex Jones’ text messages were included in a responsive document set?  If so, a refresher on what a business record is may be in order.


A business record is recorded information, in any format, that is created, received, and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business.

  • The back and forth in text messages in which a decision is made is “transaction of business”.
  • Web meeting chats in which approvals are given for a course of direction.
  • Recorded web meetings in which decisions are made.
  • Postings on your website that give updates to clients.
  • Email communications in which actionable information is provided.
  • Portal logins.


If you’re a business with customers in California, even if you’re not based in California, you need to know where a customer’s information might be so when they ask to have their information deleted, you can confidently confirm that it is indeed removed.

That includes those pesky boxes in storage that you may not have looked at for 20 years but haven’t destroyed because, up to now, it was too expensive to permanently remove them.

The reverse may hold true with electronic records—like texts—where identification and preservation is often very costly when records management processes aren’t followed as a course of daily business.

Do your records management program, procedures and software assist your organization to practice what is in your records management policy?  Can you retrieve client or topic-specific chats, recordings and texts when you need them?  Even when someone else created those chats, recordings and texts?

Has your organization tested that?

If not, reach out if you would like some assistance in strengthening your records management program to include all formats that records can be, and are, created in within your organization.

For a limited time, Western Integrated Systems is offering a FREE health check for your records! Contact us today to set up a no-obligation review to see where your organization stands.


Written by Cheryl Young

Cheryl Young (Senior Project Manager, CSM, CSPO, IGP, CTT+, ermM, ecmP) has been active in the records and information management field for over 30 years as a business process consultant, trainer, records manager, information analyst, contracts manager and project manager with specific expertise in RIM projects trusted systems and Lean process analysis. Cheryl is a frequent speaker with AIIM and ARMA.



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