Editorial: Government emails are public records. Deleting them too quickly is not OK

Los Angeles Times Editorial Board March 28 2022   Los Angeles Times   A fundamental principle of a free and open society is that citizens have a right to know what’s going on inside their government. A crucial way Californians exercise this right is with the state’s Public Records Act, which allows people to see email correspondence, […]

MT Pays $60k, Settles Public Records Case Over Pipeline Docs

The state of Montana has paid $60,000 to the ACLU of Montana as part of a settlement over its initial refusal to release documents related to its preparations for anticipated protests against the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.  By Associated Press  Feb. 28, 2022, at 4:21 p.m.  HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The state of Montana […]

Public records bill would impact reporting on government probes

By Paul Nelson KSL News Radio   SALT LAKE CITY — A bill before the Utah Legislature would make it harder for reporters — and the public — to access some records stemming from internal government investigations.   Friday at 8 a.m., lawmakers plan to take up House Bill 399, which targets the types of public records […]

Let’s Remove Obstacles That Keep Citizens From Getting Government Records

Civil Beat Editorial Board February 27 2022   Some bills before the Legislature would help — for instance, by reducing copying fees. Others are bad ideas that would blow holes in the public’s right to know.   Read more from the Civil Beat Editorial Board here 

Student newspapers are seeking to expand access to public records on crimes on campus

Cate Charron Feb 1 2022 Indiana Daily Student IU violated public access laws when it denied the Indiana Daily Student’s open records request for a student’s disciplinary record pertaining to sexual assault, according to the opinion of Luke Britt, the Indiana Public Access Counselor.   After the university denied access to such records, the IDS reported […]

Bill would change Utah public records law, aims to limit ‘vexatious requests’

Jacob Scholl Jan 31 2022 Deseret News   A proposed bill would change Utah records law and potentially make records requests more costly to the public.  HB96 would change the state’s Government Records Access and Management Act, also known as GRAMA, to allow government entities to charge for all the time spent fulfilling a records request […]

Status of Proposed CCPA-Like State Privacy Legislation as of April 5, 2021

This spring 2021 legislative session has been extremely busy for the consumer privacy act. To date, state lawmakers have introduced bills in 24 states. Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Washington are considering multiple bills. One state (Virginia) has passed legislation whereas the bills in four states (Kentucky, North Dakota, Mississippi, and […]

International Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Outlook and Review

Gibson, Dunn, Crutcher LLP Jan 31 2022   For the fourth consecutive year, and complementing the publication of Gibson Dunn’s upcoming tenth annual U.S. Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Outlook and Review, we offer this separate International Outlook and Review. As every year, this Outlook and Review provides an overview of past and upcoming developments related to […]

Federal judge rules Virginia’s restricted access to court records violates First Amendment  

Marie Feyche – University of Pittsburgh School of Law – United States   January 16 2022  A district court judge in Virginia on Friday found Virginia’s online civil court system violated First Amendment rights of the press and public because of the system’s restricted access to newly filed civil complaints.  The Officer of the Court […]

Seek Greater Transparency in Government Operations

By Elieen Vanwie and Kathy Brook  Jan 2022 Commentary: The League of Women Voters supports the citizen’s right to know, including adequate notice of proposed actions, holding open meetings, and providing access to public records. Read more from the League of Women Voters of Southern New Mexico here.  

“Group Backs Challenge to Marsy’s Law” – News Service of Florida

May 17 2021 First Amendment and journalism groups want to weigh in if the Florida Supreme Court takes up a case that could help shield the identities of law-enforcement officers involved in use-of-force incidents. The Joseph L. Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the […]

“Years after a spate of questionable Utah in-custody deaths, Utah jail operating standards are now public records” – Salt Lake Tribune

April 2 2021 The public may get a complete look at Utah jail operating standards for the first time, now that the American Civil Liberties Union and the Disability Law Center have won their lawsuit against the Davis County jail. Utah’s ACLU and the law center sued the jail in 2018, after the groups filed […]

“Biden’s executive order faces challenges trying to beef up US cybersecurity” – Tech Republic

May 13 2021 Alarmed by recent cyberattacks involving SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange and now Colonial Pipeline, the White House is taking action to try to shore up the cyber defenses of the United States. On Wednesday, President Biden signed an executive order that aims to strengthen the nation’s ability to prevent and respond to cyberattacks that […]

“Appeal filed in lawsuit over Eric Greitens’ use of self-destructing text message app” – Missouri Independent

April 5 2021 A lawsuit alleging former Gov. Eric Greitens illegally destroyed public records during his time in office by using a self-destructing text messaging app is on its way to Missouri’s Western District Court of Appeals. The appeal, filed last week by Mark Pedroli of the Sunshine and Government Accountability Project, is the latest […]

Status Of Proposed CCPA-Like State Privacy Legislation As Of May 3, 2021 – JDSUPRA

To date, state lawmakers have introduced bills in 26 states. Multiple bills were introduced in Alaska, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Washington. One state (Virginia) has passed legislation whereas the bills in ten states (Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia) have failed. See more here: […]

“Officials use digital dodges to hide public records” – David Armiak, Wisconsin State Journal

May 3 2021 This editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal focuses on a disturbing practice that allows state governments, higher education, and other organizations to use private portals in order to avoid open-record requests. This reveals that the trend toward using digital dodges to evade open records law extends beyond university settings, which were the […]

“Bill To Crack Down On Car Warranty Scams In Texas Is A Blow To Transparency, Critics Say” – Houston Public Media

April 26 2021 A bill in the Texas legislature aimed at protecting drivers’ privacy has public records experts worried it would instead limit legitimate access to public information. Supporters of Senate Bill 15 say it’s necessary to crack down on robocallers running car warranty scams. But John Collins, a Dallas-based attorney for, said the bill […]

CCPA-Like Legislation News Spring 2021

Here are a few articles connected to the California Consumer Privacy Act – Like legislation that has been happening in Spring of 2021. Article 1: Status of Proposed CCPA-like State Privacy Legislation JD Supra April 12 2021 This spring 2021 legislative session has been extremely busy for the consumer privacy act. To date, state lawmakers […]

The Justice System as a Digital Platform

Justin Tashea – September 30 2020 – The Commons To overcome the unprecedented court backlog of cases created by the pandemic, courts must reimagine what they are. No longer strictly a brick and mortar operation, courts need to think of themselves as a digital platform. Doing so requires the adoption of open data standards, data […]

1st DCA rules Marsy’s Law privacy applies to police, shielding officer in Tony McDade case

By Jeff Berlew Tallahassee Democrat April 6, 2021 In a major decision that could have sweeping implications in police use-of-force cases, a Florida appellate court ruled that Marsy’s Law privacy protections apply to law enforcement officers. A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal on Tuesday unanimously reversed an earlier decision by Leon […]

The Public Record: Information Privacy and Access

The open public record system has been the mainstay of the U.S. democracy and economy since the earliest Colonial days. During the last 350 years, this open system has become as essential an infrastructure as roads, telephone lines, and airports. The American open public record allows citizens to oversee their government, facilitates a vibrant economy, […]

The Privacy Paradox

The open flow of information is under attack in the United States as never before in an effort to protect privacy. This issue has united the far right and far left, Republicans and Democrats, federal and state governments, the Eagle Forum and the ACLU, even Phyllis Schlafly and Ralph Nader. In the past two years […]

The Identity Theft Conundrum

The Identity Theft Conundrum  “Identity theft” presents an inherent conundrum: The very attributes of modern commerce that consumers value and expect-rapid, easy, 24-hour access to a wide variety of innovative products, services, and information-make identity theft easy to perpetrate and difficult to detect. Similarly, the most effective tools for preventing and detecting identity theft often […]

Consumer Benefits from Open Public Records

Open access to public records serves many valuable purposes in our democracy and provides many public benefits, ranging from preventing and detecting crime to locating missing children. (These public benefits are outlined in greater detail in the Coalition for Sensible Public Records Access paper, Public Benefits From Open Public Records.) The value of accessible public […]

The Limits of Opt-in

Federal and state laws guarantee individuals the right to “opt-out” of certain uses of their personal information. Under this longstanding standard of privacy protection, businesses that wish to collect and use personal information must clearly notify consumers and must provide them with an easy, no-cost way (such as an 800-number) of “opting out” of such […]

Important Uses of Social Security Numbers (SSNs)

Preventing and investigating terrorist activities – The use of commercial databases is an important tool in protecting Homeland Security and critical infrastructure and fighting the global war against terrorism. Information provided by a CSPRA member companies was instrumental in locating suspects wanted in connection with the September 11th terrorist attacks. The SSNs contained in databases […]

Background checks might be worth the price

By RICK BRUNDRETT Staff Writer Unlike Wal-Mart, many S.C. companies require background checks for their workers, employment lawyers say. Columbia employment lawyer Franklin Shuler Jr. suspects Wal-Mart doesn’t do extensive checking because its large size and high employee turnover would make it very expensive. But it is a risky policy for any company or nonprofit […]

Center for Missing Children Provided Link

Blue Monday, which falls on 18 January in 2016, is allegedly the most depressing day of the year. Understandably, tightened purse strings following the festive splurge, time passed since Christmas and failed new year resolutions is not a combination for happiness – but why is the third Monday in January apparently the worst day of the year?