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Monday, November 9, 2009

Social Networking Sites for Gov't: Public Records and Records Retention Issues

This Kitsap Sun article discusses the thorny Public Records Act and retention issues when government agencies use social networking sites like Facebook.

Here's the deal: Government is different than private people and businesses. Government is not a teenager on Facebook, or a business using Twitter to generate business. Government can tax and imprison; teenagers and businesses cannot. Government is subject to laws that allow the boss--the People--to know what's going on. Comparing government to private entities is not useful when it comes to transparency. To see what the government is doing, all you need is a public records request. To see what a private person is doing, you need a search warrant and probable cause. Quite a difference. Thank goodness.