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Colorado Public Record Laws

Website & Social Media Archiving for Colorado State Agencies

Do you represent a Colorado State Government Agency and wondering how you should archive all your web and social media content? Are you trying to determine what you need to do both from a legal and a technical point of view? Here’s a guide to the different Laws and processes you should follow.

What Laws govern Records Management in the State of Colorado?

Colorado Open Records Act § 24-72-202(5) and 202(6)(a)(I), C.R.S. (CORA) governs social media and open records in the State of Colorado.

Do Colorado State Records Laws include Website and Social Media content?

Yes, they do. NARA state that that is a “[P]ublic expectation that all web content is both permanently valuable and accessible” – and so social media and web records are subject to these standards as well as the relevant metadata being pertinent to these laws.

A “public record” in Colorado legislation makes provisions for almost “all writings” – including books, papers, maps, photographs, tape recordings and electronic mail, among other written materials. “Writings” also includes digitally stored data, including electronic mail messages (but does not include computer software).” Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72-202(7)

“Public Records” include records “made, maintained, or kept by the state or any agency, institution, a nonprofit corporation incorporated pursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 23-5-121(2), or political subdivision of the state, or that are described in Colo. Rev. Stat. § 29-1-902, and held by any local government-financed entity.” Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72-202(6). The broad scope of this definition includes all agencies of the executive branch and legislative bodies.

It is extremely important to note, in the context of social media and online records, that metadata may be public since it constitutes “digitally stored data.” Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-72- 202(7).

What agencies are subject to these laws?

CORA applies to virtually all levels and types of governments across Colorado, stating that records “made or maintained” by the “state, any agency, institution, a nonprofit corporation incorporated …or political subdivision of the state, or that are described in section 29-1-902, C.R.S., and held by any local-government-financed entity” are subject to the preservation and disclosure requirements inherent within the act. The broad scope of this definition includes all agencies of the executive branch and legislative bodies.

CORA also applies to any “agency or instrumentality” of a political subdivision, (see Zubeck v. El Paso County Retirement Plan.) Non-profit corporations could be considered subject to CORA if they were established by a governmental body to perform governmental functions with public funds. (Denver Post v. Stapleton Development.) Education agencies and institutions, healthcare institutions and real estate foundations are all subject to the wide scope of CORA.

What is my agency required to do in line with these regulations?

In 1996, it was established by legislation from a General Assembly that custodians of “records kept in miniturized or digital form” had to adopt a policy for retention, archiving, and destruction of such records and to “take measures as are reasonably necessary to assist the public in locating any specific record or public records sought and to ensure public access to the records without reasonable delay or unreasonable cost.” Included in the measures suggested is “the provision of portable disk copies of computer files…or direct electronic access via online bulletin boards or other means”. Colo.Rev.Stat. § 24-72-203(1)(b).

In which form do I need to archive my records?

Case Law

An agency subject to the Open Records standards of CORA is required to archive records “in a form which is reasonably accessible and which does not alter the contents of the information.” Tax Data Corp. v. Hutt, 826 P.2d 353 (Colo. App. 1991)

The court ruled that CORA regulations should not deny access to the electronically stored information – merely regulating the manner of access to that information.

How can we transfer website archives made with PageFreezer to the Colorado State Digital Archives?

PageFreezer exports all data on request in the original file format including the required metadata. This data set can be transferred by FTP or by other means to the Colorado State or Agency Digital Archives.

How can PageFreezer help our agency?

PageFreezer has been working on our Archiving technology and processes since 2006 – We know how to properly archive Web Sites, Blogs and Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram. Just ask any of our over 500 clients including US Cities, Counties and other Government Agencies as well as Multinationals, Financial Service Firms, Healthcare Providers …

Our clients know our technology is secure, reliable and authenticated. More importantly they appreciate the ease-of-use.

That’s why our complex technology is simple to use – The archiving is automatic and retrieval is a matter of signing in, going to the date you want, and browsing your site just like you did when the content was just published.

If you have questions about any of this or about how to actually implement effective Online Public Records management start a free trial, schedule a demo or contact us directly.


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Open Government Guide


Zubeck v. El Paso County Retirement Plan

Denver Post v. Stapleton Development