Open Records in Connecticut

Website and social media records in Connecticut are governed by the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.

 

How Connecticut Defines A Public Record
According to the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, “public records or files means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.”

 

Social Media Guidance Documents
The State of Connecticut has released guidance on social media compliance with the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act. The guidance states that:

  • Agencies are responsible for managing their use, retention, and disposal of public records associated with social media sites as specified in the State Library’s State Agencies’ Records Retention/Disposition Schedules.
  • All content, including, but not limited to, comments and postings on a State agency’s web page, relating to the conduct of the public’s business, are public records, pursuant to CGS §1-200(5). As such, comments and postings must be retained for the minimum retention period as listed on the Connecticut State Library’s State Agencies’ Records Retention/Disposition Schedules.
  • In accordance with General Letter 2009-2, Management and Retention of Email and Other Electronic Messages, a public record may not be destroyed if any litigation, litigation hold notice (LHN), preservation order, claim, audit, Freedom of Information (FOI) request, administrative review, or other action involving the record is initiated before the record has been disposed of, even if its retention period has expired. The public record must be retained until the completion of the action and the resolution of all issues that arise from the action. Agencies’ users must preserve such public records.
  • In the event a LHN or order related to social media networking exists or is anticipated, then such LHN or order shall supersede the minimum retention period as listed on the Connecticut State Library’s State Agencies’ Records Retention/Disposition Schedules, until released by the Attorney General.
  • The unauthorized destruction, removal, alteration, or use of public records is prohibited, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §53-153b and §1 240. Agencies must request permission from the State Library to destroy public records after the minimum retention period has passed, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. §11-8a`and §7-109.

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