Connecticut Freedom of Information Act & Social Media
Social media records in Connecticut are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOI Act), which defines records as, “any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public’s business…whether such data or information be handwritten, typed,…or recorded by any other method.”
Connecticut FOI Act Text
Excerpt from the Connecticut of Freedom of Information Act
Sec. 1-200. (Formerly Sec. 1-18a). Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings, except where such terms are used in a context which clearly indicates the contrary:
(1) “Public agency” or “agency” means: (A) Any executive, administrative or legislative office of the state or any political subdivision of the state and any state or town agency, any department, institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or official of the state or of any city, town, borough, municipal corporation, school district, regional district or other district or other political subdivision of the state, including any committee of, or created by, any such office, subdivision, agency, department, institution, bureau, board, commission, authority or official, and also includes any judicial office, official, or body or committee thereof but only with respect to its or their administrative functions, and for purposes of this subparagraph, “judicial office” includes, but is not limited to, the Division of Public Defender Services; (B) Any person to the extent such person is deemed to be the functional equivalent of a public agency pursuant to law; or (C) Any “implementing agency”, as defined in section 32-222.
(2) “Meeting” means any hearing or other proceeding of a public agency, any convening or assembly of a quorum of a multimember public agency, and any communication by or to a quorum of a multimember public agency, whether in person or by means of electronic equipment, to discuss or act upon a matter over which the public agency has supervision, control, jurisdiction or advisory power. “Meeting” does not include: Any meeting of a personnel search committee for executive level employment candidates; any chance meeting, or a social meeting neither planned nor intended for the purpose of discussing matters relating to official business; strategy or negotiations with respect to collective bargaining; a caucus of members of a single political party notwithstanding that such members also constitute a quorum of a public agency; an administrative or staff meeting of a single-member public agency; and communication limited to notice of meetings of any public agency or the agendas thereof. A quorum of the members of a public agency who are present at any event which has been noticed and conducted as a meeting of another public agency under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act shall not be deemed to be holding a meeting of the public agency of which they are members as a result of their presence at such event.
(5) “Public records or files” means any recorded data or information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, received or retained by a public agency, or to which a public agency is entitled to receive a copy by law or contract under section 1-218, whether such data or information be handwritten, typed, tape-recorded, printed, photostated, photographed or recorded by any other method.
State of Connecticut Social Media Policy
The Chief Information Officer for the State of Connecticut has issued specific guidance on managing social media records in Connecticut in line with the FOI Act. While the policy was created for state agencies, it clearly demonstrates that social media communication is considered public record in the state of Connecticut. Towns, cities, and other public agencies should consider adopting a similar policy that addresses records retention for compliance with the Connecticut FOI Act.
Connecticut's Social Media Policy
Excerpt from : Office of Policy and Management: Social Media Policy
The Chief Information Officer for the State of Connecticut Department of Information Technology (DOIT) has established this policy regarding the use of social media.
This policy should be read together with the State of Connecticut Policies on Security for Mobile Computing and Storage Devices, Acceptable Use Policy, the Network Security Policy and Procedures, and the Connecticut State Library’s State Agencies’ Records Retention/Disposition Schedules to ensure a full understanding of all relevant State policies.
In accordance with Conn. Gen. Stat. §4d-2(c)(1), the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for developing and implementing policies pertaining to information and telecommunication systems for State Agencies.
1. Agencies are required to receive approval of DOIT’s Security Unit prior to launching a social media website or creating a social media account for State use. The approval request shall come from the Commissioner or agency head, and shall include documentation of the following:
- Business purpose of the proposed site or account;
- Name and position description of the individual who will manage the site or account;
- Description of the material which will be posted to the site or account;
- Description of the risks associated with the site or account and the agency’s risk mitigation efforts.
2. Agencies are responsible for managing their use, retention, and disposal of public records associated with social media sites as specified in the State Library’s State Agencies’ Records Retention/Disposition Schedules.