Regulations should be promulgated to make it explicit that agency employees and officials – in compliance with the requirements of the Federal Records Act – may not conduct agency business through use of non-agency email or other messaging systems. As e-mail has become a dominant form of communication within government, the importance of maintaining an accurate record of those communications has grown as well. Recent instances at both the federal and state levels have demonstrated that in addition to better archiving of government e-mail records, a stronger policy is needed on use of non-governmental e-mail accounts. Policies should strongly reinforce the Federal Regulations Act’s restriction that communications on public/government matters should be conducted through official e-mail accounts.
However, given that the problem continues to arise despite the existing guidance, additional requirements should be established in the event that government matters are discussed through non-governmental or personal e-mail accounts. In such circumstances, officials should be required to preserve and make public these records, or at least the portion related to official business.
- From the 21st Century RTK Agenda