There’s a move afoot in Ohio to clarify that private e-mail accounts are unsuitable for government work.
By “private e-mail accounts”, what they’re getting at is when a government official or employee signs into a private e-mail account (hotmail, yahoo, gmail, RNC, etc.) to send and receive e-mails, rather than using his or her official government e-mail address.
Ohio’s state legislature convened a 22-member committee to examine the state of the state’s open records and public documents access.
One of the panel’s recommendations is that e-mails sent or received “in the course of public business should be treated consistently under existing public records laws and court decisions.”
Sen. David Goodman said:
“We want to make sure nobody is gaming the process by doing public work on private devices.”
“It’s a very sensitive area because technology is changing every day. But the general idea is if you’re doing public work, it’s a public record no matter what device you use.”
Goodman and other proponents of this wise new recommendation say they’d like to see it made official as a law.
Compare this sunlight sanity to what just happened in neighboring Pennsylvania, where a legislative committee voted to exclude all e-mail from public scrutiny, even e-mail written on government computers.