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July 21, 2024

IL. State Board of Education Hiding Email Addresses –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On November 18, 2023

Springfield, Ill. (ECWd) –

The Illinois State Board of Education has declined to provide the email addresses of its employees pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request by claiming that disclosing the email addresses of its employees (who presumably actually use the email addresses to conduct public business) would jeopardize the security of its system or its data, Section 7(1)(o) of the FOI Act.

Imagine if public bodies across this state started hiding all of their email addresses from the public.

Obviously, we disagree, and the Attorney General has in numerous Opinions mandated the disclosure of both public body email addresses and private business email addresses. We even prevailed in the disclosure of student email addresses at the College of DuPage several years ago (See Student Press Law Center article here).

We filed a Request for Review with the AG’s Public Access Counselor and fully expect a determination in our favor and disclosure of all ISBE employee email addresses.

Read the Request for Review below:

78929 FI let_Redacted


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  • Dave
    Posted at 14:44h, 18 November Reply

    They must fear being held accountable

  • James Forrest
    Posted at 18:48h, 18 November Reply

    That seems quite a broad stroke of a request. What is your purpose for needing all those email addresses? The denial by ISBE is sound. Should folks start making FOIA requests regarding your funding sources pursuant of your 501(C4) organization status? Perhaps start digging for dark money funding?

    • John Kraft & Kirk Allen
      Posted at 10:11h, 19 November Reply

      It is obvious you are confused about FOIA, funding sources, and “dark” money. You should read up on all of it before commenting again.

  • John K
    Posted at 12:14h, 21 November Reply

    Please be “cautious” … aware of abuse victims whose abusers have used public information to find their victims.

    Also, disclosing employee email addresses can generate so much email traffic the user can’t manage the account. Politico, June 4, 2013:

    “that she and the agency’s previous administrators needed a secondary email address for internal government correspondence, which otherwise would be swamped by the huge amount of email traffic flowing into their main, public address. Other agencies have offered similar defenses, the AP said.” {Behind semi-enforced paywall.}

    IG report on the matter.

    • John Kraft & Kirk Allen
      Posted at 06:48h, 22 November Reply

      Good info, however, Illinois law does not permit the withholding of email addresses of public employees and officers.

      • John K
        Posted at 08:48h, 23 November Reply

        ” … Illinois law does not permit the withholding of email addresses of public employees and officers.”

        No exemptions for personal / private safety of the person possessing the email address?

        • John Kraft & Kirk Allen
          Posted at 09:17h, 23 November Reply

          No, when we are talking about their government work email addresses – otherwise there would always be a made-up “safety” issue to withhold gov’t email addresses.

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