Legal Alert: Arizona Court of Appeals Rules That Metadata is Not Subject to Public Records Request


In a 2-1 decision issued just this week, Division One of the Arizona Court of Appeals found that metadata associated with electronic documents was not subject to a public records request under Arizona's public records law. See Lake v. City of Phoenix.

Metadata is information describing a document's history, tracking, and management, and also includes hidden information such as track changes, comments, and other information. This information is automatically created by most software without any input from the user. Some metadata is easily accessible through the Microsoft Word interface, while other metadata is accessible only through extraordinary means, such as by opening a document in a low-level binary file editor.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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