Public Records Laws and Social Media Retention in
Kansas Open Records Act and Social Media
Social media records in Kansas are governed by the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA), which defines records as “any recorded information, regardless of form or characteristics, which is made, maintained or kept by or is in the possession of any public agency.” The act goes on to expressly state that “computer data is a ‘record’” and that records are not limited to written information. This means that photos and videos shared by public agencies on social media are included.
Show KORA text
Excerpt from Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) Guidelines
VI. RECORDS SUBJECT TO KORA
B. KORA applies to public records, not to private records.
1. “‘Public record’ means any recorded information, regardless of form or characteristics, which is made, maintained or kept by or is in the possession of any public agency. . . .” K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 45-217(g)(1).
a. Use of the phrase “regardless of form or characteristics” means that “public records are not restricted to written records.” Burroughs v. Thomas, 23 Kan.App.2d 769, Syl. ¶ 1 (1997) (holding that autopsy photos are public records). 10
b. Computer data is a “record.” State ex rel. Stephan v. Harder, 230 Kan. 573, 582 (1982) (considering prior records statute); see also AGO 94-104; 89-106; 88-152; and 87-137. 1) Data must be provided in the form requested if the public agency has the capability of producing it in that form.
Kansas Social Media Records Management in Practice
In August 2015, the State of Kansas adopted an official social media policy that applies to all state agencies and employees in the executive branch. This policy clearly states that social media records in Kansas must comply with the public records retention requirements outlined in KORA. This policy serves as a model for all public agencies managing social media records in Kansas.
View the State of Kansas' Social Media Policy
Excerpt from State of Kansas Social Media Policy created by the Office of Information Technology Services
Official State Use
State of Kansas agencies that choose to enhance their communications strategies by utilizing social media in carrying out their functions/missions must do so in ways that maintain good order and discipline, network security, comply with public records retention legal requirements and ensure consistency with State and agency media standards. Agency public information officers and communications directors are charged with administering the use of social media by the State agencies in which they are employed.
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