Photo of logo: U.S. Department of Justice. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM U.S. Department of Justice. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

If you use Whatsapp or similar platforms for work-related communications, then you’ve probably heard that regulators are putting an end to that practice. Ephemeral and encrypted messaging, they have noted, evades monitoring and prevents retention. And if companies can’t turn over incriminating communications to law enforcement, then prosecutions against individuals will suffer—an unacceptable outcome to prosecutors bent on making cases against individuals for white-collar offenses.

This isn’t true only of felony prosecutions: A seldom-used doctrine allows prosecutors to charge executives with misdemeanor offenses just for being in the position of power when others commit the misconduct. Rather than take a wait-and-see approach, companies and their leaders would do well to prepare for prosecutors to reach deep into their toolbox.

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