Posted on May 15, 2008

Kilpatrick Enacts Policy to Limit Access to the City’s Text Messages

Zachary Gorchow, Detroit Free Press, May 15, 2008

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has implemented a new policy governing the city’s electronic communications system that exempts text messages from being considered city property and from prohibitions on certain types of messages.

Previous city policy stated that all messages sent via the city’s electronic communications system were city property, a policy that gained interest after revelations that Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff exchanged damaging text messages showing they lied under oath during a whistle-blower trial. {snip}

The new policy, obtained by the Free Press, took effect April 15 through a directive signed by Kilpatrick.

“This policy does not include telephones, text messaging devices and pagers, which are given to employees for their personal and business use,” the policy says. “State and federal laws protect communications made over telephone lines and through the use of messaging devices.”

Kilpatrick’s criminal defense attorneys, representing him in the eight felony charges that stemmed from the text message scandal, have argued the messages never should have been released by the provider, SkyTel, to the plaintiff’s attorney in the whistle-blower case because of state and federal laws.