The Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) in New Mexico encompasses records related to social media. The primary objective of IPRA is to grant individuals access to comprehensive information about government affairs, official acts performed by public officials, and employees. The Act's phrasing is designed to be wide-ranging and able to withstand future changes. It pertains to all public records, regardless of their physical form or attributes, including social media records in the state of New Mexico.
Chapter 14, Article 2 NMSA 1978 may be cited as the “Inspection of Public Records Act”. 14-2-5.
Purpose of Act; Declaration of Public Policy.
Recognizing that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, the intent of the legislature in enacting the Inspection of Public Records Act is to ensure, and it is declared to be the public policy of this state, that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of public officers and employees. It is the further intent of the legislature, and it is declared to be the public policy of this state, that to provide persons with such information is an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of public officers and employees.
14-2-6. Definitions. As used in the Inspection of Public Records Act:
A. “custodian” means any person responsible for the maintenance, care or keeping of a public body’s public records, regardless of whether the records are in that person’s actual physical custody and control;
G. “public records” means all documents, papers, letters, books, maps, tapes, photographs, recordings and other materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that are used, created, received, maintained or held by or on behalf of any public body and relate to public business, whether or not the records are required by law to be created or maintained.
Although social media records in New Mexico fall under the Inspection of Public Records Act, only a handful of public agencies have implemented a social media policy as a precautionary measure to conform with the law and reduce risk. Nonetheless, the University of New Mexico has set a good example by creating a policy that considers freedom of expression, confidentiality, and societal norms, while still recognizing social media records in New Mexico as public data.
These guidelines are intended to be a minimum standard. Certain UNM entities, departments, programs, or groups may adopt additional guidelines for their users.