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Frequent Questions about Mobile
and Portable Devices, and Records

What are Mobile and Portable Devices?

Mobile and portable devices include laptops, tablets, netbooks, smart phones, and USB drives.

As of October 2014, the iPhone or Windows phone are the only smart phones available through the EPA Working Capital Fund. Exceptions to this rule would require an approved reasonable accommodation. The link below will take you to the eBusiness MD Catalog, which lists all of the current available mobile devices through the WCF.


What kind of records might I have on my Mobile Device?

Common Agency records maintained on Mobile Devices include e-mail, calendars, voice mail and any other information related to your work at EPA.

What should I do with Agency records created on my Mobile Device?

Records created on your Mobile Device should be transferred to your office's recordkeeping system on a regular basis. For email this may be done automatically or manually. A recordkeeping system may be either electronic or hard-copy, as long as records are organized and accessible. Use of EZ Email Records is highly recommended.

After I have captured Agency records, do I need to delete them from my Mobile Device?

No, you may maintain convenience or reference copies. Both official records and convenience copies should be disposed of in accordance with applicable Agency record schedules.

Can Instant Messages (IMs) be Agency records?

Users of IM or other transient technologies are responsible for ensuring that IMs that result in the creation of a federal record are saved for FRA purposes. This can be done in Microsoft Office. For text messages created with an iPhone or Windows phone, see EPAís Instructions for Saving Text Messages (last modified, 8/14/14) at: http://intranet.epa.gov/mobiledevices/pdf/Instructions-Saving-Text-Messages.pdf

Do I need to set up any special security on the Mobile Device?

Information stored on your device requires the same degree of protection as similar EPA information stored elsewhere, whether on a LAN, PC, removable electronic media, or paper. Consult your organization's policy on handheld computing to see if there are special security requirements. Enable the password lock feature when the device is not being used, to provide an initial form of protection against unauthorized users.

The following quick tips will help you protect your portable devices and the information they contain.

Portable Devices Security Quick Tips

  • Keep your portable device with you or properly secured at all times.
  • Make sure your portable devices are password protected and donít share your passwords.
  • Donít connect your portable device to unknown networks or computers.
  • If your portable device is lost or stolen report it to CTS Service Desk at 1-866-955-4287 as soon as possible. Then contact either -
    • Federal Protective Service - 1-866-347-2423 (if stolen inside EPA facility)
    • Local Police if stolen outside EPA facility
Is the information on my Mobile Device subject to FOIA, subpoena, and discovery?

Yes, information on your Mobile Device may be requested under FOIA or in response to litigation. The same exemptions apply to the release of the information that apply to all other EPA records.

My Mobile Device was not provided by the Agency. Do these rules still apply to me?

Yes, if you have Agency records on a personally-owned Mobile Device, they still need to be captured in an approved recordkeeping system. It is recommended that you do not use your personal device for EPA work purposes, unless there are no other options.

Do these guidelines apply to EPA contractors?

Yes, these guidelines apply to EPA contractors and other agents. Contract terms should ensure that contractor systems satisfy legal requirements for creating and maintaining adequate and complete records of EPA transactions.

How can I get additional guidance?

If you have policy questions about managing records on your mobile or portable devices, contact the Records Help Desk. You can find additional guidance in the following publications:

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