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Trial Court Requires City Officials to Disclose, as Public Records, Their Texts, Emails, and Voicemails from Personal Electronic Devices

   Published on:  05 Apr, 2013

The Superior Court in Santa Clara County found that when public duties are executed by officers and agents through communications on their private accounts and devices, those communications by city officers reasonably fall within the definition of a record “prepared, owned, used, or retained” under the California Public Records Act.

The Court concluded the City’s argument that the location of the records on private devices excluded them from that definition was improper. The Court stated a public agency could easily shield information from public disclosure simply by storing it on equipment it does not technically own.

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