Morning News Roundup – February 25, 2013


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)

About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

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