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Michigan Legislature Votes To Ban Messaging Apps That Elude FOIA Requests!

Michigan Legislature Votes To Ban Messaging Apps That Elude FOIA Requests!

by John Clore

2 weeks ago

Lansing- Representative Steve Johnson (R) is sponsor of a bill, that will ban the use of messaging apps that have the capability of deleting messages to elude FOIA requests.  

The Michigan House approved the bill with a vote of 104-0. 

House Bill 4778 will prohibit state employees from using messaging apps, on work issued devices, that would allow state employees the capability of deleting conversations to avoid FOIA requests. 


The Detroit Free Press reported in February, 

"The director of the Michigan State Police has instructed his officers to remove "nonstandard" applications such as the text messaging app Signal from their state phones by Wednesday and to seek authorization before downloading such apps in the future.

The new policy, issued Monday by Col. Joseph Gasper, follows a series of articles in the Free Press about use by senior MSP officials of the free-to-the-user app Signal, which can be used to evade the Michigan Freedom of Information Act and legal discovery."

The 2015 Center of Public Integrity investigation found Michigan to be ranked worst on accountability and transparency within its government. 

Michigan Senate passed HB 4778 on November 2nd.  This bill will now go to the executive branch where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will have the option to approve, or veto.

Still, Michigan has FOIA exemption for governor and legislature. 



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