by Barry Smith
The N.C. Open Government Coalition has released a new mobile app, just in time for Sunshine Week.
The app, called “NC Sunshine Center,” can be downloaded at the iTunes App Store and the Google Play store for Android devices. Simply search for “NC Sunshine,” and it’ll pop up. It’s easy. I just did it on my iPad and Android phone and tablet.
And, yes, it’s free.
The app gives you information about North Carolina’s Public Records Law and Open Meetings Law. It contains all sorts of good tidbits on open government, such as what records are public and when a governmental body can close a meeting.
There are Q&A sections to better help members of the public understand their rights. For example, one question is:
“Do the media have more rights to public records than citizens?”
“No. Everyone has the right to examine and obtain copies of almost all public records. You’re also not required to say why you want the record or what you plan to do with it.”
There’s also a section for the holders of public records, helping those who keep the records understand what they can release to the public and what they’re not allowed to give out.
“For example, a Social Security number must never be released as part of a public record,” the app says.
It also encourages holders of public records not to mix public information and private, protected information together. If that occurs, the public record should be released with the protected information redacted.