Sunday, January 18, 2009

Presidential Records Act in the digital age

Ezra Klein
If the Presidential Records Act makes IM and Blackberries impossible because it means even the most casual and speculative conversations will be included in future records, then the thing to do is not rip instant messaging -- and all its rapid efficiencies -- out of the White House, but to try and modernize the Presidential Records Act. The PRA, after all, was passed in 1978. There was no IM. No e-mail. No blackberries or text messaging.

I think this is correct, the law will have to be modified. Ezra is just talking about Text and email, but the rules regarding social media will also have to be revisited. Civil servants, not just White House personnel, need to be on Twitter and similar platforms, but the records management implications of social media need to be taken into account. There is a way of dealing with all this, but it needs to be reviewed.

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