Open Records in Georgia

Electronic records in Georgia are set by the Georgia Open Records Act. An all-encompassing act making specific reference to the online world, the law requires that government agencies keep public records, including “computer based or generated information.” The Act specifically addresses “electronic messages, whether in the form of email, text message, or other format” as public record. This definition would also include social media records, enterprise collaboration messages, and even website content.

 

How Georgia Defines a Public Record
The Georgia Open Records Act states the following:

  • ‘Public record’ means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, data, data fields, or similar material prepared and maintained or received by an agency or by a private person or entity in the performance of a service or function for or on behalf of an agency or when such documents have been transferred to a private person or entity by an agency for storage or future governmental use.
  • Requests to inspect or copy electronic messages, whether in the form of email, text message, or other format, should contain information about the messages that is reasonably calculated to allow the recipient of the request to locate the messages sought, including, if known, the name, title, or office of the specific person or persons whose electronic messages are sought and, to the extent possible, the specific data bases to be searched for such messages.

Social Media Guidance Documents
For those looking for more information on how the Georgia Open Records Act impacts public-sector social media use, the Digital Services Georgia website is a particularly useful resource.

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