FOIA Advisor

Q&A: Please don't take my sunshine away

Q&A (2015-16)Allan BlutsteinComment

Q.  Are the cell phones of government employees [in Illinois] subject to FOIA requests and can they be confiscated by agency attorneys if they suspect you are taking pictures or sending a text about work-related matters?

A.  On August 9, 2016, the Illinois Attorney General issued a legal opinion indicating that all emails sent or received by agency employees that relate to government business are subject to FOIA, regardless of whether sent through a government or personal account. This would appear to be equally applicable to text messages and other work-related records maintained on personal accounts or devices.  

For further information about the AG's opinion, see this article written by the law firm Holland & Knight.  If you are an agency employee, you should confer with your agency about the how it intends to implement the AG's opinion.