New report highlights shortcomings of Colorado electronic records retention

MuckRock: A new report released this month by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition (CFOIC) offers recommendations for addressing Colorado’s inadequate records retention practices, which currently lack important guidelines around some of the current era’s most common modes of communication: email and text message.

Focused on the State Archives and Public Records Law and the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA), the report, authored by Jill Beathard, is concerned with the retention of these “electronic records,” emphasizing a need to clarify and enforce the types of records to be retained, the length of retention, and the simple fact that retention is required.

These modern issues aren’t unique to Colorado, but they are proving to be a real problem, even for the state’s legislators. In February, KOAA News5 reported that emails, requested under CORA by Colorado State Senator John Cooke, had been deleted following officials’ resignations. Cooke was able to get about 3,000 of those emails, but only after IT workers hunted copies of them down across state servers following the threat of a subpoena.

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