Courts, lawyers and states are increasingly treating these typed text messages as public documents subject to the same disclosure laws -- including the federal Freedom of Information Act -- that apply to e-mails and paper records.Should public officials be put under more scrutiny than those who do not have a public role? Does it only matter if it's a government cell phone? How do you determine when a politician, or anyone else in a public role, is "on public time?" Or should those in public roles be held to a higher standard so not to have this problem? Or is this all just outlandish?
"I don't care if it's delivered by carrier pigeon, it's a record," said Charles Davis, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition at the University of Missouri. "If you're using public time or your public office, you're creating public records every time you hit send."
A Texas judge agreed in December, ordering the city of Dallas to turn over e-mails written by some city officials as well as messages sent on hand-held devices such as cell phones.
And, for those of us who pay our own cell phone bills, here's some information on how to save money by renegotiating your cellular plan.