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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - Digital access to local public records tested

"Test of open records law finds many agencies fall short of compliance" was the headline to a $$ July 13th story by Kat Carlton in the Bloomington Herald-Times. Some quotes:

Indiana law requires public agencies to disclose many records to the general public through electronic records requests. But recently, a group of Indiana University graduate journalism students found compliance with the law is far from complete. * * *

[The students] requested records from 90 public agencies in 30 Indiana counties. [The requests focused] primarily on electronic access, or digital elements such as asking to have electronic copies of records, either by taking pictures with cellphone cameras or having documents sent by email. * * *

The students began by emailing commissioners’ offices, sheriff’s departments and health departments in each of the 30 randomly selected counties. According to Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act, agencies are required to at least respond (even if they don’t send a record) within seven days of the initial contact.

Forty-eight agencies responded within the seven-day period. Forty departments did not respond to the email, but 10 gave verbal responses during follow-up calls. Of the 58 responders, 17 provided the documents requested. Thirty agencies never responded, and two more said they didn’t have public email addresses. * * *

The graduate students documented all their findings in a series of reports in partnership with the Indiana Coalition for Open Government.

For much more, see the July 13th reports at the Indiana Coalition for Open Government (ICOG) website. Especially see "Of search warrants and cell phone cameras."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 16, 2015 09:07 AM
Posted to Indiana Government