Attorney General Bill McCollum Press Release
McCollum Announces New Policy on Public Records
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced a new policy championing open government and transparency. As of today, the Attorney General’s Office will treat Blackberry PIN messages and Blackberry text messages as public records by automatically retaining those messages that travel through the agency server. The policy addresses the common misconception that Blackberry PINs travel from device to device rather than through servers.
“The evolution of technology should be an asset, not an obstacle, to transparency and accountability,” said Attorney General McCollum. “This policy will allow for both government efficiency and more open government.”
In addition to the new PIN policy, the Attorney General announced plans to form a Sunshine Technology Team to explore the open government requirements as related to electronic communications and emerging technology. The team will be led by the Attorney General’s Chief of Staff and will include input from public records advocates, technology experts, media specialists, communications officials and government officials. Other forms of electronic communications that will be reviewed will include text messaging, instant messaging, and voice over internet protocol.
The policy was announced in the wake of the controversy involving public records and government ethics at the Public Service Commission. Furthermore, employees will continue to be responsible for retaining any public records made or received in connection with official business. This announced policy is not a legal determination or a formal opinion by the Attorney General.