Alaska Supreme Court rules private e-mail messages are public records

Lilly Chapa | Freedom of Information | News | October 15, 2012
October 15, 2012

An Alaska Supreme Court decision makes private e-mail messages containing government business subject to the state Public Records Act but also makes obtaining those records difficult.

Friday's ruling held that the state Public Records Act does not prohibit public officials from conducting government business through their private e-mail accounts, potentially posing difficulties for people seeking to access those messages in the future, Alaska media lawyer D. John McKay said in an interview.


August 1, 2012

Summary of statute(s): Alaska’s eavesdropping laws prohibit the use of any electronic devices to hear or record private conversations without the consent of at least one party to the conversation. Further, the state criminalizes the disclosure of information obtained without such consent. The state’s hidden camera law only applies to taking nude or partially nude pictures of subjects without their consent.


May 1, 2012


Judge opens custody records in Palin custody battle

Amanda Becker | Secret Courts | Quicklink | December 30, 2009
December 30, 2009

An Alaska judge has unsealed the records in the custody dispute between Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Superior Court Judge Kari Kristiansen rejected the argument made by Bristol Palin -- daughter of 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin -- that the case should be sealed from the public and that a gag order should be in place. In addition, the presiding judge ruled against Palin's proposed used of the pseudonyms Jane and John Doe.

Court: Palin's e-mail practices not a violation of open records law

Hannah Bergman | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | August 12, 2009
August 12, 2009

An Alaska Superior Court judge ruled today that former Republican Gov. Sarah Palin’s use of private e-mail accounts was not a violation of the state open records law.

The Associated Press reported that “Superior Court Judge Jack W. Smith said in his ruling that there is no provision in Alaska state law that prohibits the use of private e-mail accounts when conducting state business.”

In Alaska, public records don't run cheap

Jordan Zappala | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | October 20, 2008
October 20, 2008

Despite having enough cash to increase its spending budget to $11 billion, Alaska is offering few cut rates to those requesting public records,The Associated Press reported

Although the state will on occasion waive fees for less than 200 pages of copied material or if the information requested is considered a matter of public interest, Alaska's senior assistant attorney general told The AP that times were changing.

Palin administration must preserve Yahoo e-mail, judge says

Hannah Bergman | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | October 14, 2008
October 14, 2008

An Alaska judge on Friday ordered Gov. Sarah Palin’s office to preserve e-mail messages in her private Yahoo accounts, amid a lawsuit filed this month by a local watchdog over records in the governor's administration.

Andree McLeod’s records requests have already helped reveal Palin's frequent use of Yahoo accounts to conduct official business.

Palin is sued for access to e-mail

Hannah Bergman | Freedom of Information | Quicklink | October 6, 2008
October 6, 2008

Alaska Republican watchdog Andree McLeod filed a lawsuit Friday seeking another round of Gov. Sarah Palin’s e-mail messages and a court order preventing the would-be vice president from destroying the records.

McLeod initially filed one request under Alaska’s open records law for Palin’s e-mail in June, long before Palin joined Sen. John McCain on the Republican presidential ticket. Friday’s suit stems from that request and an additional records request she filed on Oct. 1.

Palin's e-mail problems spread

Hannah Bergman | Freedom of Information | Analysis | September 18, 2008
September 18, 2008

The debate over access to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s e-mails may not matter if hackers have their way.

Police unlawfully seize, then return, newsroom documents

Reporter's Privilege | Feature | July 13, 2006
July 13, 2006