CNPA joins amicus fight to protect disclosure of electronic records

Increasingly, public records requesters are facing difficulty getting access to electronic data.

This week, CNPA joined other media organizations in a brief drafted by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, asking the First Appellate District Court of Appeal to reverse a trial court decision that could have a disastrous impact on the duty to disclose data.

In Sander v. The State Bar of California, the trial court ruled that it could not require the agency to disclose data about applicants for admission to the State Bar because that would require the creation of a new record, which the California Public Records Act does not mandate. This ruling made the erroneous finding that requiring that redaction of information was equivalent to requiring the creation of a new record.

This interpretation has been increasingly adopted by agencies across the state, and is completely contrary to the statutory intent of the CPRA provision addressing electronic records. The amicus brief argues that the anonymization of an existing record is not the creation of a new record, and urges the court to reverse this finding. The results of this case will have a far-reaching impact on the disclosure of data across the state.