Request for email metadata (Office of the Governor - Rhode Island)

Matt Chapman - Free Our Info, NFP filed this request with the Office of the Governor - Rhode Island of Rhode Island.
Due April 9, 2018
Est. Completion None
Status
Awaiting Response

Communications

From: Matt Chapman - Free Our Info, NFP

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act, I hereby request the following records:

For all non-personal emails accounts in use by the governor and its staff, please provide me the following information for all emails sent and received between March 5 2018 and March 9, 2018.

1. From address
2. To address
3. bcc addresses
4. cc addresses
5. Time
6. Date

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 10 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Matt Chapman

From: Matt Chapman - Free Our Info, NFP

Hi -
Has there there been any progress with this request?

Thanks,
Matt Chapman

From: Muckrock Staff

To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following request, copied below. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.

From: Office of the Governor - Rhode Island

Mr. Chapman,

We have received your APRA request for certain e-mail metadata. Specifically, you requested:

For all non-personal emails accounts in use by the governor and its staff, please provide me the following information for all emails sent and received between March 5 2018 and March 9, 2018.

1. From address
2. To address
3. bcc addresses
4. cc addresses
5. Time
6. Date
Please note, that the Governor's Office is not required to compile or reorganize data that it does not maintain. See R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-3(h) ("Nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring a public body to reorganize, consolidate, or compile data not maintained by the public body in the form requested at the time the request to inspect the public records was made except to the extent that such records are in an electronic format and the public body would not be unduly burdened in providing such data.").

The Governor's Office does not maintain records of the metadata you requested other than on the e-mails themselves, and therefore has nothing directly responsive to your request. If you would like to request all e-mails during this period, please clarify your request. However, please note that there will likely be a substantial fee given the number of responsive e-mails. We will provide an estimate of the fee based on your revised request.

Best,

Joshua Butera
Special Counsel
Office of Governor Gina M. Raimondo
State House, Room 112
82 Smith Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-222-2389 (office)
Joshua.Butera@governor.ri.gov<mailto:Joshua.Butera@governor.ri.gov>

From: Matt Chapman - Free Our Info, NFP

Is there any way that you could forward this request to your IT department? This information can be retrieved by them with a single-line powershell script. As such, it would NOT be unduly burdensome to provide this information. Please let me know if you would the documentation required to fulfill this request.

As it stands, your agency does not seem to have done a thorough enough research to make any valid determination that this request would be unduly burdensome. In the five months that it took to respond to this request, I would have expected such research to have been done by either you, or your IT departments.

Thank you for your understanding,
Matt Chapman
Free Our Info, NFP

From: Office of the Governor - Rhode Island

Mr. Chapman,

We received your request on September 21, 2018 and responded the next business day on September 24. You previously sent your request to a former staff member whose e-mail address was no longer active. Your original request indicating her e-mail address is attached.

R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-3(h) refers to the “form” of the documents requested. Regardless of the burden, the law does not require a state agency to create a completely new document. Requiring the Department of Information Technology to search for the specific information you seek would necessarily require them to create a completely new document. The Access to Public Records Act provides a mechanism for members of the public to review public records that are “maintained or kept on file by any public body.” See R.I. Gen. Laws 38-2-3(a). However, it does not govern requests to answer specific questions nor does it address requests for data independent of public records.

If you wish to revise your request, we are happy to provide an estimate for the cost of searching and producing records responsive to your revised request.

In accordance with R.I. Gen. Laws § 38-2-8, you may wish to appeal this decision to Brett Smiley, Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor, 82 Smith Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903. You may wish to file a complaint with the Department of the Attorney General, 150 South Main Street, Providence, Rhode Island, 02903, or the Rhode Island Superior Court of the county where the record(s) are maintained.

Best,

Joshua Butera
Special Counsel
Office of Governor Gina M. Raimondo
State House, Room 112
82 Smith Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
401-222-2389 (office)
Joshua.Butera@governor.ri.gov<mailto:Joshua.Butera@governor.ri.gov>

  • [EXTERNAL] _ RE_ Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act Request_ Request for email metadata (Office of the Governor - Rhode Island)

From: Matt Chapman - Free Our Info, NFP

That is factually incorrect.

There is no need to create a new document, as the records pursuant to this request are all discrete records within an Exchange server. In the case of Rhode Island, you are using Exchange Server 2013 (whose smtp server version is 15.20.1207.21). This means that the data pursuant to this request is stored within either one or more .edb files. As such, for the same reason that email bodies would not be considered the creation of a new record, neither would this request, simply because Exchange's backend storage format, the two fields are stored identically - just with a different name.

If you would like me to provide the technical documentation to backup my statements, please let me know, and I will be more than happy to provide them.

However, as it stands, your department non-compliantly stating that this request requires the creation of a new record, which it does not.

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  • [EXTERNAL] _ RE_ Rhode Island Access to Public Records Act Request_ Request for email metadata (Office of the Governor - Rhode Island)