CoA Institute Lawsuit Prompts Archivist to Examine Potential Record Destruction at NOAA

Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) filed a lawsuit last summer against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) seeking copies of electronic records created through the agency’s Google-based email platform. These types of records are commonly known as “instant messages.” The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) requests at issue (available here and here) also sought formal agency guidance on the retention of “Google Chat” or “Google Hangouts” messages. We had already learned, through earlier investigation, that at least one internal NOAA handbook, dating from March 2012, instructed agency employees to treat all chat messages as “off the record,” raising concerns about potential unlawful record destruction at NOAA. >click to read< 15:22

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