With the 12th of October looming, we’ve had questions from many of our users with regards to making a copy or backup of the existing database for the purpose of safekeeping. It is always a good idea to take regular backups and storing the final backup that predates October 12th may be worthwhile. However, it is unlikely that this copy can be considered solid digital evidence as the content can be changed retrospectively.
Is you software tamper proof?
Your plant record system probably timestamps all accessions when they are recorded into the system. This means that you can produce reports and show accessions that were in the database before October 12th. However, a skilled IT technician can, in theory, change this data retrospectively. Under normal use, many plant record systems are tamper proof, but we cannot claim that this can be used as solid digital evidence.
Additional precautionary steps – digitally signed documents
As an alternative or additional precaution, you can produce a report of all your current accession and have this document digitally signed. Applying a digital signature will make the electronic document tamper proof. From a practical point of view, the document can easily be shared with others and the recipient can check when it was digitally signed and that has not been changed since. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_signature
As not everyone has the capability to digitally sign documents, we are happy to offer this service to our customers free of charge.
If you would like us to help, please run a report of your accessions. You can either use the Accession catalogue or Accession objects report. Add a title to the top of the document, such as “List of accessions, My Garden, October 10th 2014”, or similar. Send the Word or Excel document to us and we will sign this as soon as possible and return it to you. Any documents received before October 12th will be processed on October the 12th at the latest.
We are neither legal experts nor experts on the finer details regarding the new EU regulations. However, we hope that this extra precautionary measure we have suggested will help you to comply with the new regulations and make it easier for you to manage your botanical collection.
- EU Regulation: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX:32014R0511
- Access and Benefit Sharing: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/international/abs/index_en.htm
- PlantNetwork- Nagoya Protocol: http://plantnetwork.org/news/nagoya-protocol-newsletter-45-march-2014/