Spotted a mention over on eDiscovery Daily about an Above the Law article wherein they take a good look at all of the wasted space taken up by the millions of emails by adding a signature file, specifically the “please consider the environment” line.
In essence, adding that extra text probably uses more energy to store, copy, etc. the larger emails than is probably saved by the number of people who have ever actually stopped to consider the environment before printing an email.
The eDiscovery Daily article goes on to talk about the extra time and cost of dealing with that extra text in the eDiscovery process.
These email signatures and disclaimers also affect eDiscovery costs, both in terms of extra data to process and also host. They can also lead to false hits when searching text and affect conceptual clustering or predictive coding of documents (which are based on text content of the documents) unless steps are taken to remove those from indices and ignore the text when performing those processes. All of which can lead to extra work and extra cost.
This I have seen first hand. Once upon a time, I received the agreed upon keyword list for a case involving an environmental permit. Applying the keyword “environment” to the email collected resulted in EVERY SINGLE EMAIL being a hit, because they all ended with “please consider the environment before printing this email”. Cue the extra time and cost.