New US electronic data retention laws have come into force, also affecting those with US subsidiaries.
The law forces companies to keep much better records of all their electronic information, following US Supreme Court amendments to federal rules in April that began on 1 December.
They require any company involved in a federal lawsuit to produce any relevant electronically stored information in the discovery process. This is the method by which parties involved in a legal dispute share evidence before a trial.
Any UK business with activities in the US could be affected by the legislation and will need to collate all its relevant electronically stored information, from employee photos through PowerPoint decks to emails and instant messages. Companies are expected to be responsible for being able to respond to legal electronic archive investigation as part of the discovery process in a reasonable time.
Another window into UK business affairs is also due to opened soon. Part III of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), due to take effect in the next few months, will allow law enforcement officers to gain access to the encryption keys needed to decrypt data which, in their view, could be vital for a conviction.