A Washington, D.C. Superior Court judge recently determined that city officials who use personal email accounts to conduct public business must turn their personal emails over in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

With the accessibility of email on smartphones and tablets, it is easy to conduct business outside of the office — but the judge’s ruling shows that a work-around to public disclosure rules will not be tolerated. His decision seems to be both in line with other states and indicative of a growing trend.

Some argue that emails and text messages sent from private, personally owned devices and accounts should not be subject to open records laws. Others argue that the content, not the ownership of the device or account, is the basis for deciding whether the communication is subject to FOIA. For more on this decision, click here.