Skip to content

AP can't get Arkansas computer-use records

Post categories

  1. Freedom of Information
The Associated Press has fallen short in its bid for details on which state-owned computers were used to edit Wikipedia entries about Arkansas officials,…

The Associated Press has fallen short in its bid for details on which state-owned computers were used to edit Wikipedia entries about Arkansas officials, after a judge ruled against the wire service in an open-records lawsuit.

The suit, brought by two AP reporters and backed by the news organization, sought information that would help identify the employees who edited entries about Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Gov. Mike Beebe on Wikipedia, deleting controversial information.

Pulaski County Judge Marion Humphrey favored the argument that security concerns protect the state from having to reveal the data.

As the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported, “Information that could compromise the state’s computer security is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information law, and the state’s computer security system uses the IP addresses in its operation, Assistant Attorney General Joe Cordi told the judge. The state publicly reveals only as much as necessary for the computers to operate over the Internet, he said.”

The AP argued that revealing in which agencies the relevant computers sat wouldn’t be a security risk, but rather “would show how state employees were using their time to change the Wikipedia passages,” the newspaper reported.

The AP’s attorney also told the court that Arkansas’s ethics laws prohibit employees from working on political campaigns on state time with state resources, and the editing had taken place during Huckabee’s run for the presidency, according to the paper.