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Arkansas man wields county e-mails in battle over online public records

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  1. Freedom of Information
An Arkansas man is taking matters into his own hands, posting online what he thinks is private information contained in…

An Arkansas man is taking matters into his own hands, posting online what he thinks is private information contained in official emails in hopes of spurring his local court to take public case records off the Web.   

Bill Philips, of Pulaski County, wants the clerk’s office there to “remove tens of thousands of circuit court records containing Social Security Numbers and other personal data from the county government Web site. That data included bank account numbers, birth dates and check images,” according to Computerworld.  

So, Philips has posted on his Web site, pulaskiwatch.com,  “a year’s worth of e-mails sent and received by nine officials at the county office, including the county clerk himself,” that Philips received via a public records request. Reporter Jaikumar Vijayan writes that the majority of the e-mails are routine and "innocuous," but a few deal with personnel issues.

Philips told Vijayan he’ll remove the e-mails when the county court takes steps to remove the personal information in their records.  A similar battle was waged in Virginia and resolved in court last month.