Interesting Article: Private messaging apps undermine state public record laws

Thought I’d share, this is about Private Messaging Apps and government RM –


Very interesting article. Thank you for sharing!
Theresa Lang

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Thanks for sharing this article. It was an interesting read. It will be interesting to see how it actually unfolds.


Hi Tamyra,

Glad you enjoyed it

Not that I’ve ever been known to be an advocate for the Devil…but does every ‘uh-huh’ by an elected official have to become or is a public record? Or are we skewing what is a public record due to changes in technology? Has every phone call always been recorded? Are there no conversations in a hallway or yes, the restroom? Those are two methods which do not end in a public record itself. Actions taken from those conversations will be in a public record. Is a promise to support a bill if another bill is supported a public record? Is a hard conversation on a compromise on a potential bill a public record? Hasn’t been in the past as if it were, nothing would really get done. Can you imagine trying to defuse the nuke missiles in Cuba if every single conversation, argument and offer was recorded? Enough was captured that still gives me the willies on how close it came.

Of course there is the other side of the coin. Public officials using technology to hide illegal activities. I do not agree with the bills that have been proposed with blanket exemptions as a non-record because of the technology. That reeks of hiding illegal activities. Maybe what is needed is to revisit what truly constitutes a public record of official business and what does not even if it may/may not lead to one. That is the one item that really counts as you can always have a conversation in the restroom.

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Good questions Randy!

Along those same lines, if every form of messaging app produces records, then why don’t VOIP phone calls, standard phone calls, or webinar meetings constitute records? If those all constitute records, why shouldn’t in-person conversations? Does the medium really change the message?

It seems to me that records management, as a field of theory, has become a bit too interested in asking:
“What specific medium produces a record?”
but not interested enough in asking
“What types of content and contexts ought to produce records?”

Maybe even live, in-person conversations ought to constitute a record if they’re the moment a decision was made to take unilateral military action, but 98% of emails, even among high ranking officials, shouldn’t actually become official records at all.

I believe there’s still a lot of work to do to figure out where we’re going, and the best way to get there.