Open Records in Hawaii

When it comes to open records in Hawaii, the Hawaii Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA) applies. The act states that “government record means information maintained by an agency in written, auditory, visual, electronic, or other physical form.”


How Hawaii Defines a Public Record
In addition to defining a government record in the above way, the act also discusses what exactly a “personal record” is. It states that “personal record means any item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual that is maintained by an agency. It includes, but is not limited to, the individual’s education, financial, medical, or employment history, or items that contain or make reference to the individual’s name, identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual, such as a finger or voice print or a photograph.”

This can include social media content, of which the act states that “each agency that maintains any accessible personal record shall make that record available to the individual to whom it pertains, in a reasonably prompt manner and in a reasonably intelligible form. Where necessary the agency shall provide a translation into common terms of any machine readable code or any code or abbreviation employed for internal agency use.”

Government organizations in the state of Hawaii therefore need to be able to provide access to data such as social media content if an open records request is made.


Social Media Guidance Documents
For insight into how government organizations need to approach the Hawaii Uniform Information Practices Act in relation to social media, the Hawaii State Senate’s Social Media Use Policy can be particularly useful.

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