LEGATO Systems, Inc. announced the results of an Australian e-mail practices survey conducted by Image & Data Manager magazine, which showed that Australian companies may be seriously breaching Archives and Corporations law by deleting business related e-mails. While 77 percent of the companies surveyed indicated that they use or accept e-mail for financial transactions such as orders, confirmations and pricing, 80 percent reported that they delete their e-mails within a month, with 42 percent deleting daily. Fifty percent say they print out less than five percent of their e-mails, so often no record is kept.

Dr. Adrian McCullagh, solicitor in the Corporate and Technology group at Freehills, an Australian law firm, commented, "While there is no general provision dealing with retention of e-mails in Australia, the corporations law requires financial documents to be retained for five years and government departments, under the Archive Act, need to retain e- mails for seven years. Clearly these results show that companies and their directors are at risk of prosecution."

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