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Government 2.0

There is no question that technology has changed how Government is done. With the integration of social networking, blogs, RSS feeds, and wikis, Government is better able to serve individuals, businesses and employees alike.

Here is a forum to share your experience with technology use in Government.

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Besu60  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, March 21, 2018 10:20:41 PM(UTC)
Besu60

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Hello all, I realize I could do well to contact my state office's FOIA coordinator but I'm a little shy after already following up with her twice last week. You see, about a week ago, I was part of a conference call discussing lessons learned in the course of FOIA requests. I learned quite a bit that I somehow never knew despite working for the government for four years. I was bowled over to hear for the first time that my personal cell phone could be scrutinized in the course of a FOIA. I have been angry about this because it's like any person off the street robbing me for my phone contents. If law enforcement was conducting a criminal investigation, this would be much more understandable.

However, I realize I may be needlessly angry because I lack clarity on one thing: I have a government-issued *work* cell phone that I deliberately restrict to work uses. My *personal* phone is used for everything else. If a person's own personal phone is subject to FOIA, is that only when it's used for official business? Or do activists get to see photos of my family and love notes to my significant other just because they demand it?! Thanks!
FatHappyCat  
#2 Posted : Thursday, March 22, 2018 12:55:13 AM(UTC)

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I don't see how that's possible. For starters, was there any context to go along with this such as if you've used your personal phone for official government business. Even then, the scope of any FOIA would be limited to work related stuff.

More practically, how would they ever compel you to surrender your phone much less unlock it with anything short of a search warrant?
Besu60  
#3 Posted : Thursday, March 22, 2018 6:41:47 AM(UTC)
Besu60

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That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out. Our FOIA coordinator didn’t have a lot of clarity and is frustrated as well over the ever-evolving process that she said resulted from unprecedented responses to broad FOIA requests.
TheRealOrange  
#4 Posted : Thursday, March 22, 2018 7:03:08 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Besu60 Go to Quoted Post
Hello all, I realize I could do well to contact my state office's FOIA coordinator but I'm a little shy after already following up with her twice last week. You see, about a week ago, I was part of a conference call discussing lessons learned in the course of FOIA requests. I learned quite a bit that I somehow never knew despite working for the government for four years. I was bowled over to hear for the first time that my personal cell phone could be scrutinized in the course of a FOIA. I have been angry about this because it's like any person off the street robbing me for my phone contents. If law enforcement was conducting a criminal investigation, this would be much more understandable.

However, I realize I may be needlessly angry because I lack clarity on one thing: I have a government-issued *work* cell phone that I deliberately restrict to work uses. My *personal* phone is used for everything else. If a person's own personal phone is subject to FOIA, is that only when it's used for official business? Or do activists get to see photos of my family and love notes to my significant other just because they demand it?! Thanks!

FOIA requests are governed by federal law (5 U.S. Code § 552). The records subject to release are described in the statute:

(2) “record” and any other term used in this section in reference to information includes—

(A) any information that would be an agency record subject to the requirements of this section when maintained by an agency in any format, including an electronic format; and

(B) any information described under subparagraph (A) that is maintained for an agency by an entity under Government contract, for the purposes of records management.


The information on your personal phone, not used for agency business, would not seem to be "information . . . maintained by an agency" or "information . . . maintained for an agency by an entity under Government contract."
Besu60  
#5 Posted : Thursday, March 22, 2018 8:06:45 AM(UTC)
Besu60

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Thanks for the quotes! I actually just called our FOIA person again because I couldn’t stand it and rephrased my question from last week (I realized that I could have asked it better and saved a lot of trouble). She confirmed that my personal phone that is not used for official business is safe. I appreciate having this text, though! I’ll consider the matter closed.
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