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Government employees in California cannot keep the public from seeing their work-related emails and texts sent on personal devices and through private accounts, the California Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday, closing a loophole that justices said could have allowed the "most sensitive and potentially damning" communications to be shielded.

With the ruling, California joins a growing list of states that treat public business done through private accounts as public records.

"This ruling is a model for giving government transparency laws meaning in the digital age," said Matthew Cagle, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which filed a brief in the case.

The ruling came in a lawsuit against the city of San Jose. City Attorney Richard Doyle said he was not surprised by the decision and did not plan to challenge it. But he said it raised practical challenges for cities and counties.

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