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Metadata should be public, according to AZ court

So many nuggets of information to be mined...

 

Excerpts from an AP article of October 29, 2009:

PHOENIX -

Hidden data embedded in electronic public records must be disclosed under Arizona's public records law, the state Supreme Court said Thursday in a groundbreaking ruling that attracted interest from media and government organizations.

Metadata can show how and when a document was created or revised and by whom. The information isn't visible when a document is printed on paper nor does it appear on screen in normal settings.

The Arizona ruling came in a case involving a demoted Phoenix police officer's request for data embedded in notes written by a supervisor. The officer got a printed copy but said he wanted the metadata to see whether the supervisor backdated the notes to before the demotion.

"It would be illogical, and contrary to the policy of openness underlying the public records law, to conclude that public entities can withhold information embedded in an electronic document, such as the date of creation, while they would be required to produce the same information if it were written manually on a paper public records," Justice Scott Bales wrote.