Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Illinois revelations

The double delete.  The gmail account.  The personal phone.  All methods used to keep discussions out of FOIA, and today we see a pretty graphic example of the results from the University of Illinois investigation.  To quote from Inside Higher Ed this AM . . .

In one email, Phyllis M. Wise, chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus, said she and others had been warned by Robin Kaler, associate chancellor for public affairs, “not to use email.” She added, “We are doing virtually nothing over our Illinois email addresses. I am even careful with this email address and deleting after sending.”

Read more here, but that one paragraph from one email says it all.  Your PR people warned you.  You did it anyway.

Following up on yesterday, it's the age old digital trail.  Remember when Ohio State's band director swore he never swore at students?

Let me channel my inner Kaler with good ole Uncle Earl's oft paraphrased political advice:

Don't write what you can say,
Don't say what you can't whisper,
Don't whisper what you can't wink

Monday, August 10, 2015

Private email not safe

The recent resignation of Illinois includes details about that university's policy that ALL email is subject to FOIA, state issued or private.  As you notice in the link, her holding back private emails may or may not have been a key in her departure.

It reminds me of the case years ago in Louisiana where private emails used by administrators to circumvent public discussion and disclosure were ruled "in bounds" for a FOIA request.  It's been used at the federal level as well, and certainly about to be part of the upcoming political campaign.

Kinda like the Brady comment that the phone company records didn't reveal anything in DeflateGate . . . hello Houston Nutt days and NSA-style meta data.  You've got to have the device to reveal what was sent.  Anyone remember that public vs private phone miscue by Bobby Petrino?

Yet another reminder -- if its digital, its discoverable.