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High court rejects electronic records case

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    NMU         WASHINGTON, D.C.         Freedom of Information         Mar 7, 2000    

High court rejects electronic records case

  • Ruling that allows federal agencies to destroy electronic records if they retain paper copies stands.

Federal agencies can continue to destroy electronic records if they retain paper copies, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s March 6 decision not to review a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., (D.C. Cir.). The appellate ruling upheld a 1995 National Archives and Records Administration instruction from archivist John Carlin allowing the destruction of electronic copies of records.

Public Citizen, the American Library Association and the American Historical Association sued the archivist in 1996 in an attempt to force him to rescind the rule, saying agencies need to retain the “unique value” of electronic records. A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled against the archivist in 1997 but his decision was overturned by the appeals panel in August.

(Public Citizen v. Carlin; Media Counsel: Michael Tankersley, Washington, D.C.)

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