The Supreme Court of California is about to impose a ruling regarding all government employee emails, text messages and other communication mediums such as Facebook and Snapchat to be visible to the public. The eight-year-old case is about to get its conclusion later in March this year.
According to a report from The Stack, the final decision on whether imposing the ruling of exposing all communication between all government employees and official to anyone to the public will soon be delivered. This covers all forms of communication like Facebook, Snapchat and even Twitter. The resurfacing of the issue rooted from Ted Smith's claim of suspicious suspicion backroom dealings between a developer and the San Jose City Hall.
The case revolved around the city hall's failure to provide the communication records that Smith have requested before. The city's response was to give out select emails and communications. The employees' private communication devices were spared, however.
Back to the present day, if the Court finally sees the reason to letting all forms of communication records be released for public viewing, this would let further investigations proceed for all private telephones and computers. Private smartphones are also covered and even non-business related messages from Snapchat or Facebook.
Based on a recent hearing from December last year (via JCC), the Supreme Court of California was almost close to making the new ruling effective. However, it was indefinitely delayed because the government employees' privacy must still be protected while ensuring that all business communications are transparent.
The City and county councils, including school boards, are bent to making sure that the current California Public Records Act remain intact as it is. Imposing such rule, based on their claim, is going to be way too expensive and way too bureaucratic. An example given was a message sent via Facebook, Snapchat or any form of email regarding Walmart's application for a permit.
However, other members of the court suggested that public requests should be made to be information specific. This would help streamline the new potential ruling and reduce the expense and hassle of an extremely long process of investigating everyone. Trying to weed out every message through social networks like Facebook, Snapchat and dozens more of similar apps is considered way too drawn out.
At the moment, the trial court judge has sided with Smith, but the Court of Appeal have ruled for San Jose. Smith's lawyer stated in an interview that he is looking forward to the implementation of the ruling revision as this would guarantee the use of private devices immediately.
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