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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Colorado Guv Sues for Cell Phone Records

This ought to be a rather high-profile test of the arguments surrounding the public records status of cell phones...

The Denver Post today sued Gov. Bill Ritter after the governor's refusal to turn over 19 months of cellphone records that would show some of who Ritter has called and been called by since taking office in 2007.

The newspaper claims it is entitled to a list of calls made and received by Ritter during the 19 months related to his work as governor.

Ritter only occasionally uses his state-issued cellphone but carries a second cellphone not provided by taxpayers. The governor's office has refused to allow Post reporters to see the itemized bills for that phone, arguing that it would invade the governor's privacy.

Attorneys for the paper disagree.

"It is obvious that if any high-ranking government executive may 'privatize' his conduct of public business by establishing a private account or dealing with private providers of communications technologies, it would allow government officials to unilaterally create a vast and unacceptable 'loophole' in the requirements" of the Colorado Open Records Acts, said the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit filed in Denver District Court, the newspaper filed two requests for the records, one on July 6 and the second July 28.

The first request asked for the itemized phone bill from Ritter's personal cellphone for January and February 2007.

The second request asked for 19 months of cellphone bills — from January 2007 through July 2008 — which reflect the official calls placed or received by Ritter during normal business hours.

More here.

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