An opinion issued by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office on Nov. 15 changes that. The opinion stemmed from the city of Champaign’s denial of a reporter’s request for documents pertaining to public business, even if those documents were in private cell phone, Twitter or email accounts.If you ask me, this sounds like trouble. It reeks of over reach because where does privacy end. Perhaps this needs to force public officials to keep official business on official channels and keep private business off of official channels.
The city partially denied the request by saying the documents were not in its possession.
That explanation violated the intent of the Freedom of Information Act, the attorney general’s office said.
“Whether information is a ‘public record’ is not determined by where, how, or on what device that record was created; rather, the question is whether that record was prepared by or used by one or more members of a public body in conducting the affairs of government,” wrote Michael Luke, counsel to Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
In other words, the public’s business is the public’s business, no matter which phone, computer or other communication device is used to conduct it.
What do you think of this development? They were already talking about this over at the Capitol Fax where I got wind of this!