E-mail documents are not treated any differently than written correspondence. Because the Open Records Act applies to both “computer based or generated information” and to “letters,” e-mail correspondence is subject to it. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 (a).
A case was pending as of May 2009 to determine whether the Open Records Act was violated when the Department of Agriculture charged $4.3 million for the recovery of archived e-mail. E-mail is to be kept for five years under the state’s retention schedule, but the department was not following the requirements at that time. Griffin Ind. v. Georgia Dep’t of Agriculture, No. 2005-CV-97935. In practice, however, several agencies claim ignorance of the existence of retention schedules and do not follow them.