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4. Telephone call logs

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  • Alaska

    There do not appear to be any cases addressing accessibility of telephone call logs as such, and there is no apparent reason why call logs that are public records would not be available unless they are subject to a specific exception.

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  • Arizona

    Call logs are public record if calls are for a public purpose.  A “public employee’s private cell phone records pertaining to the conduct of public business may become public records subject to disclosure if a public records requestor establishes the employee used the cell phone for a public purpose.”  Lunney v. State of Arizona, No 1 CA-CV 16-0457 (Ariz. App. Dec. 7, 2017) at 2.

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  • Arkansas

    If telephone call logs are kept by a public agency, then those logs are subject to disclosure under the FOIA. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-103(5)(A). See also Ark. Op. Att’y Gen. No. 87-319 (stating that “a log of police calls” is “clearly encompasse[d]” by the FOIA).

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  • California

    Telephone records are generally public absent specific circumstances justifying their withholding. For example, one California appellate court has held that telephone numbers contained in otherwise disclosed cell phone, home phone and hotel bills of city council members were properly withheld upheld under the deliberative process privilege within the catchall exemption of Section 6255 of the Government Code. See Rogers v. Superior Court, 19 Cal. App. 4th 469, 479 23 Cal. Rptr. 2d 412 (1993). The court stated that disclosure of the telephone numbers of individuals with whom council members have spoken “‘was the functional equivalent of revealing the substance or direction’ of the judgment and mental processes of the City Council member.” Id. (quoting Times Mirror Co. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal. 3d 1325, 1343, 283 Cal. Rptr. 893, 813 P.2d 240 (1991)). The court’s decision turned in large part on the unfocused nature of the request, which sought “all City-reimbursed telephone records of all City Council members over a one-year period.” Id. at 480.

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  • Colorado

    Although call logs of calls paid for by the government are public records, the phone logs of the governor, connected to a "private" cell phone which he paid for, are not. Ritter v. Denver Post. Corp., 255 P.3d 1083 (Colo. 2011).

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  • Connecticut

    Telephone logs are subject to the same rules and exemptions as other public records.

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  • Delaware

    Not addressed, but presumably open.

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  • District of Columbia

    Telephone call logs are not specifically addressed in the statute, but they should fall within the definition of "public record," which includes "all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, or other documentary materials regardless of physical form characteristics prepared, owned, or used in the possession of, or retained by a public body."  D.C. Code Ann. § 2-502(18).

    D.C. courts have, however, found that records containing telephone numbers can fall within the Act's personal privacy exemption.  The D.C. Act exempts from disclosure any "information of a personal nature where the public disclosure thereof would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."  Id. at § 2-534(a)(2).  In determining whether records containing telephone numbers can be exempted under this subsection, D.C. courts balance the public interest in disclosure against personal privacy interests.  See, e.g., Padou v. District of Columbia, 29 A.3d 973, 979 (D.C. 2011) (exempting telephone numbers from a FOIA request after "balanc[ing] the public interest against the privacy interest and decid[ing] that the privacy interest was more important.").

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  • Georgia

    The Act does not exempt telephone call logs. See generally Dortch v. Atlanta Journal, 261 Ga. 350, 405 S.E.2d 43 (1991) (requiring disclosure of cellular telephone bills).

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  • Hawaii

    There is no statutory or case law addressing this issue

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  • Idaho

    Although not specifically called out in the act, the public records act broadly defines “public record” such that telephone call logs created and maintained by state or local agencies should fall within its definition.

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  • Indiana

    There is no statutory or case law on this issue.

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  • Iowa

    Law enforcement investigative reports and telephone records are confidential, but the “date, time, specific location and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding a crime or incident” are public unless “disclosure would plainly and seriously jeopardize an investigation or pose a clear and present danger to the safety of an individual.” Iowa Code § 22.7(5).

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  • Kansas

    Public record means any recorded information regardless of form or characteristics. K.S.A. 45-217(g)(1).

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  • Kentucky

    Telephone call logs are subject to the Kentucky Open Records Act. See 03-ORD-165.

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  • Louisiana

    No specific provision, but under the Act, telephone call logs should be treated as a public records and should be produced to a requester absent an applicable exemption.

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  • Maine

    Telephone call logs are public if received or prepared for use in connection with the transaction of public or government business or if they contain information relating to the transaction of public or governmental business.  1 M.R.S.A. § 402.  Information about purely private calls, even when made using government supplied phones, are not public records.  See Doyle v. Town of Falmouth, 2014 ME 151, ¶ 14, 106 A.3d 1145 (“records of personal telephone calls . . . that were unrelated to the transaction of public or government business do not fall within the definition” of public records).

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  • Maryland

    Although not discussed in the PIA, in at least one case, records of telephone calls made from Government House, the official residence of the Governor in Annapolis, were determined not to be public records under the PIA. Office of the Governor v. Washington Post Co., 360 Md. 520, 536 (2000).

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  • Michigan

    Cf. Booth v. Department of Corrections, Case Nos. 331807, 332014, 2016 Mich. App. LEXIS 2229 (Mich. App. Dec. 1, 2016) (requiring production of “a log indicating what DOC employees listened to the [prisoner] telephone call[s]”).

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  • Montana

    If the public agency maintains call logs, they are open.

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  • Nebraska

    There is no express exception to the public records statutes for telephone call logs, although to the extent a call log would constitute a record of telephone calls related to the performance of duties by a member of the Legislature, it may be withheld pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. §84-712.05(12).

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  • Nevada

    Records containing the name, address, telephone number or other identifying information of a natural person can be considered confidential. NRS 239.0105. The Nevada Supreme Court held that call logs maintained by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department were public records. LVMPD v. Blackjack Bonding, 131 Nev. Adv. Op. 10, 343 P.3d 608, 611 (2015).

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  • New Hampshire

    The Statute defines information to mean: "knowledge, opinions, facts, or data of any kind and in whatever physical form kept or maintained, including, but not limited to, written, aural, visual, electronic, or other physical form.”  RSA 91-A:1-a,IV.

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  • New Jersey

    The telephone numbers and names of persons called are not accessible.  See Gannett N.J. Partners v. County of Middlesex, 379 N.J. Super. 205, 216 (App. Div. 2005); Livecchia v. Borough of Mount Arlington, 421 N.J. Super. 24, 29 (App. Div. 2011).  However, the destination location of the calls made is accessible.  Id.

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  • New Mexico

    Telephone logs are available under the broad definition of public record contained in NMSA 1978 § 14-2-6(G)(2013) which includes “all documents … tapes … recordings and other materials, regardless of their physical form.”

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  • North Dakota

    Telephone usage records are generally public records which subject to the open records statute. See N.D. Op. Att’y Gen. 94-19 (1994). The North Dakota legislature, however, has exempted its own telephone records showing the identification of persons and their telephone numbers from the open records statute. See § N.D.C.C 44-04-18.6.

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  • Ohio

    The public records statute does not explicitly address telephone call logs, and the Ohio courts have not explicitly adjudicated the status of telephone logs, but such logs are almost certainly public records. See State ex rel. Dispatch Printing Co. v. Morrow County Prosecutor's Office, 105 Ohio St.3d 172, 824 N.E.2d 64, 2005-Ohio-685 (audio tapes of 911 calls are public record);

    State ex rel. Bott Law Group, LLC v. Ohio Dep’t of Nat. Res., Ohio App. 10th Dist. No. 12AP-448, 2013-Ohio-5219 (Nov. 26, 2013)(ordering public office to prepare all non-exempt public records responsive to relator’s request, which included requests for call logs and notes); (State ex rel. Evans v. City of Parma, Ohio App. 8th Dist. No. 81236, 2003-Ohio-1159 (Mar. 13, 2003)(mandamus claim was moot in request for police dispatch and service call records when City provided responsive records).

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  • Oklahoma

    Telephone call logs of a public body would be a record under the Act because, at a minimum, the logs are connected with the transaction of public business.  51 O.S. 24A.3.1.

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  • Oregon

    The Attorney General has taken the position that telephone messages on voicemail systems are public records but that public bodies are not required to retain them. Attorney General Manual, § I.C.1.

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  • Rhode Island

    Presumably subject to the APRA.  A requestor “may elect to obtain them in any and all media in which the public agency is capable of providing them. Any public body which maintains its records in a computer storage system shall provide any data properly identified in a printout or other reasonable format, as requested.” R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-3(g).

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  • South Carolina

    As long as the call log is held by a public body it would be considered a public record, for purposes of SC FOIA, and is not exempted generally speaking. There are exemptions for law enforcement that theoretically could apply which list seven different reasons, as provided in S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-40(3), that a call log call could be withheld or redacted. However, those exemptions may only be used if the mere disclosure (not publishing) of the record would necessarily harm the law enforcement agency in one of the seven ways listed therein. A 2017 amendment to SC FOIA added a specific exemption for “any audio recording of the final statements of a dying victim in a call to 911 emergency services.” S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-40(2) That section further provides that “[a]ny audio of the victim's statements must be redacted prior to the release of the recording unless the privacy interest is waived by the victim's next of kin.”

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  • South Dakota

    Records of telephone calls are specifically exempted. SDCL §1-27-1.5(12).

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  • Tennessee

    Presumably open, although telephone information that might be used to locate someone who has a protective order is closed to protect such person from violence. T.C.A. § 10-7-504 (a)(16).

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  • Texas

    Telephone call logs are considered public information, provided the records meet the general test outlined in Section 552.002—collected, assembled, or maintained or in connection with the transaction of official business, and the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it. See Tex. Att’y Gen. OR2015-14345 (2015).  In letter rulings, the Attorney General’s Office has even found that the personal telephone records of government employees are subject to the act, to the extent the records relate to official business.  See id.; Tex. Att’y Gen. OR2013-09446 (2013).

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  • Vermont

    A public record includes “any written or recorded information, regardless of physical form or characteristics, which is produced or acquired in the course of public agency business.”  1 V.S.A. § 317(b) (emphasis added).  Thus, to the extent telephone call logs exist, they would be subject to the Public Records Act.

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  • Virginia

    This is not directly addressed by statute, but call logs fall within the definition of “public record.”  In a decision that purported to address the Governor’s working papers provision of the Act, but was decided on separation of powers grounds, the Virginia Supreme Court held that an itemized list of long distance calls placed by the Governor’s office was not subject to access under the Act.  Taylor v. Worrell Enterprises, 242 Va. 219, 409 S.E.2d 136 (1991).

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  • Washington

    In Nissen v. Pierce County, 183 Wn.2d 863, 357 P.3d 45 (2015), the Washington Supreme Court held call logs prepared and retained by a third-party telecommunications company were not “public records,” even though they showed a public employee’s telephone usage.  An appellate court held that Internet access logs held by a county, showing public employees’ internet activities were public records, but the state supreme court reversed that decision on statute of limitations grounds.  Belenski v. Jefferson County, 187 Wn. App. 724, 350 P.3d 689 (2015), rev’d on other grounds 186 Wn.2d 452, 378 P.3d 176 (2016).

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  • West Virginia

    There are no West Virginia cases relating to the disclosure of telephone call logs. However, it is likely that the court would interpret the term "public record" to include such logs possessed by a public body subject to possible claims of exemption for information of a personal nature, law enforcement records, or undermining the deliberative process privilege. See W. Va. Code § 29B-1-4 (2), (4) and (8). Should such claims of exemption being made by a public body, the court should narrowly construe the exemption claimed and embrace FOIA presumption of disclosure.

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  • Wisconsin

    Telephone call logs are not exempt from disclosure.

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  • Wyoming

    Telephone logs meet the definition of public records in the Act.

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