Intel E-mails Lost Due to IT Manager Error, Lawyer States

In a meeting of corporate attorneys at the Argyle Executive Forum in New York last Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported over the weekend, Intel's general counsel stated that e-mails for 151 employees who were to have been instructed to retain them as possible evidence in the AMD antitrust trial were lost by virtue of a single IT manager misreading a spreadsheet where the employees' names were first distributed.

Apparently the names were categorized across multiple tabs, if general counsel D. Bruce Sewell's remarks are accurate, and this single manager didn't click on the tab where the 151 were listed. As a result, they never received backup instructions.

An Intel spokesperson told BetaNews this morning the company has no official comment as of yet, which may mean the corporation is not yet ready to validate Sewell's account.


According to Bloomberg's account, which ran in last Saturday's San Jose Mercury News, Sewell's speech for a gathering of attorneys was by way of underscoring how meticulous their clients' businesses must be in maintaining their vital data, not just in case of disaster and loss but for legal purposes as well. He reportedly advised his audience to advise their clients never to develop a data backup policy that could fail on account of one person's error, saying, "We've got a $10 million discovery-management program, and yet that human interface can often be overlooked...Talk to your IT department."

Among those at Intel whose e-mails may have been lost were the company's senior executives, including CEO Paul Otellini, chairman Craig Barrett, and senior vice president Sean Maloney. If Sewell's account is correct, those names may have appeared on "Sheet2" somewhere, though evidently not because of any alphabetical order for the list as a whole, given a "B," an "M," and an "O."

As the Bloomberg report later states, Sewell's remarks went on to imply that it's useless to split hairs over the meaning of whether deleted data is truly irretrievable if it technically may still exist in some non-indexed form somewhere - that there is indeed some point where data can, for all intents and purposes, be declared "truly gone."

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