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Perry’s email purging on hold

Never underestimate a truly determined hacker.

Gov. Rick Perry’s state office has temporarily stopped deleting emails every seven days — as its official document retention policy allows — thanks to the efforts of a Wisconsin-based political activist who thinks they should be preserved longer.

Government transparency advocate John Washburn has devised a computer program to automatically spit out requests, twice a week, for all of the emails generated by the governor’s office. That has had the impact of halting the routine destruction of the records, because the law says files can’t be destroyed if somebody asks for them under the Texas Public Information Act.

Soon after he filed the request, Washburn said the governor’s office assured him the “email purging has stopped.”

The Milwaukee-based activist made a similar request a few years ago, but he gave up after a few weeks because he couldn’t afford to pay for the documents he was entitled to receive. He ultimately got only four days’ worth of emails. Still, the files revealed some raw and unfiltered talk among aides and appointees, along with an important story about foster children who were sleeping in emergency shelters.

See here for some background, and here for Washburn’s adventures in pestering Team Perry, which is now in my RSS feeds. This ought to be fun.

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