Cellphone pics expose new front in public-records debate

By MATT LAKIN
Knoxville News Sentinel

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Local government agencies in Tennessee follow conflicting, contradictory – and completely arbitrary – rules on whether residents can take cellphone pictures of the records they helped pay to create.

Just 5 percent of cities and counties – and no school systems – out of 259 agencies across the state examined by the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government have policies that specifically allow requesters to take photos of records rather than pay for copies.

Nearly half of the agencies – 48 percent – ban use of personal equipment outright. Another 41 percent don’t even acknowledge the possibility, at least not on paper. Even the policies that allow cellphone photos aren’t necessarily consistent.

Coalition Executive Director Deborah Fisher says using a cellphone is basically the same as writing information down, only faster.

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Categories: Regional News

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