Survey highlights challenges of retaining public sector text messages

When it comes to capturing and archiving text messages, a recent survey from Smarsh found many government agencies are not keeping up with best practices required to satisfy public records requests. Smarsh’s 2018 Public Sector Text & Mobile Communications Survey offers insights from government professionals at all levels from across the US regarding mobile device management and…


Orange County ‘textgate’ crowd got off easy for destroying records

From Orlando Sentinel: My dad used to say, "Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law."

Dad never lived in Florida.

Here, authorities say Orange County commissioners broke the law many times over — but got off with a slap on the wrist — all because they claimed they didn't know they were doing wrong.

[. . .]

Perhaps you think I'm being simplistic. But look at the logic these guys used to claim ignorance:


Cellphone companies say they don’t save text messages

From  City Attorney Fred Stavins said that, even if they are public records, deleted text messages are impossible to recover, and the city's legal department provided The News-Gazette with its research to prove it.

In December 2012, city officials called around to various cellphone providers to determine how long those records are retained in the cell company's files.

[. . .]

AT&T: No records are kept of customers' text messages — that data can only be accessed on a customer's phone.


Champaign won’t make further appeals of FOIA ruling

From  City Attorney Fred Stavins said on Tuesday night that the city does not plan to appeal an appellate court's decision that it must turn over text messages to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request The News-Gazette filed in 2011.

Stavins said there are "very few documents" to produce, but the city will comply with a ruling that text messages sent and received on a council member's private device during a city council meeting are public records.


Jacksonville (Fla.) plans to start saving text messages

From The Financial News and Daily Record:

The City Ethics Commission Subcommittee on Transparency and Open Government met Monday to discuss how to capture and preserve text messages.

"The first area of concern was whether or not text messages, which are public record if they are discussing City business on either City or personal phones, are being kept," said James Young, a member of the City Ethics Commission.