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FOIA News: CoAI Sues NOAA for G-Chat Records

FOIA News (2017)Kevin SchmidtComment

CoAI Sues NOAA for G-Chat Records Surrounding Controversial Amendment to Expand Industry-Funded At-Sea Monitoring

Cause of Action Institute, June 6, 2017

Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) today filed a lawsuit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) for Google Chat or Hangouts communications from the New England Fishery Management Council’s (“NEFMC”) April 2017 meeting. The suit also seeks internal guidance on retention of Google Chat records on the agency’s internal messaging platform. NOAA failed to respond to two Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) requests submitted in May for these records.

The records sought by CoA Institute include guidance from NOAA’s Office of General Counsel for the retention of instant messages through the “Google Chat” or “Google Hangouts” feature of NOAA’s internal Unified Messaging System. According to a March 2012 NOAA handbook, employees were instructed that these messages “will be considered ‘off the record’ and will not be recorded in anyway.”

Read more here.