A Philadelphia trial court ruled that emails released under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) must be provided to the requester in their original format.
The case should be of particular interest to information and privacy activists, considering similar issues addressed in a recent federal court decision concerning US government monitoring of certain online information which it classifies as “non-content,” that is, data attached to the main body of an online communication which contains information describing that main data like its point of origin, date of creation, and destination. This is known as “metadata” (data about data).
From the Nauman Smith Media and Right-to-Know Law practice group: “A trial court in Philadelphia has concluded that metadata is subject to public disclosure under Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Law (RTKL). Scott v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia C.C.P., 8/3/2012). In that court’s opinion, an agency must honor a request to provide an electronic document in the format in which the document was originally created.”
(photo by Kenneth Lipp)
WHYY Newsworks reported this morning on the widening of the battleground for the union fight against Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Local labor has been joined by the state’s largest unions, representing more than a million employees, in fighting the mayor’s attempt to impose contract terms upon city employee members of District Council 33 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. (We reported on a protest of the proposed terms last month)