Request for Email Metadata (Information Technology)

Matt Chapman filed this request with the Information Technology of Worcester, MA.
Multi Request Request for Email Metadata
Est. Completion None
No Responsive Documents


From: Matt Chapman

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Massachusetts Public Records Law, I hereby request the following records:

For all email accounts under the management of this city, please provide me the following information for all emails sent and received during January, 2019:

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

E-mail metadata is trivially exportable from the IT infrastructure of any modern e-mail archiving or data retention system - such as Microsoft Outlook 365, Google, Datacove, etc. - and should be deliverable in a .CSV, .XLS, or other machine readable format.

Please note that I am not requesting the contents of each email. E-mail metadata does not include the contents of the specified e-mails, thus do not need individual review for redaction.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as we believe this request is in the public interest, as suggested but not stipulated by the recommendations of the Massachusetts Supervisor of Public Records. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

I expect the request to be filled in an accessible format, including for screen readers, which provide text-to-speech for persons unable to read print. Files that are not accessible to screen readers include, for example, .pdf image files as well as physical documents.

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.


Matt Chapman - Free Our Info, NFP

From: Information Technology

Good afternoon Mr. Chapman,

Thank you for your public records request, received by the city of Worcester on January 29, 2019 and January 30, 2019 for certain metadata information for "all email accounts under the management of this city...for all emails sent and received during January, 2019," to be exported "from the IT infrastructure of any modern email archiving or data retention system - such as Microsoft Outlook 365, Google, Datacove, etc. - and should be deliverable in a .CSV, .XLS, or other machine readable format."

The information you are seeking is not a document that the city of Worcester maintains. Therefore, no records exist which are responsive to your request.

Further, you have requested that the city of Worcester create a record. Please note that the Under M.G.L. chapter 4 section 7(26), public records are defined as materials which have already been made or received by a public entity. The duty to comply with requests for records extends to those records that exist and are in the possession, custody, or control of the custodian of records at the time of the request. See M.G.L. c. 66, section 10(a)(ii). In addition, 32 Op. Att'y Gen 157, 165 (May 18, 1977) held that a custodian is not obligated to create a record in response to a request for information.

"A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law" published by Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, updated in January of 2017, states that, "The mandatory disclosure provision of the Public Records Law only applies to information that is in the custody of the governmental entity at the time the request is received. Consequently, there is no obligation to create a record for a requester." (see page 9)

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out again. Thank you, have a nice day.

Joshua Martunas
Staff Assistant & Records Access Officer
Office of the City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr.
P: 508-799-1175 ext. 31302
F: 508-799-1208

From: Matt Chapman

This request does not require the creation of records, as the records pursuant to this request already exist in a discrete context separate from the contents of emails themselves. Any steps to retrieve the requested documentation is simply retrieving those discrete records.

Here is the technical documentation which describes how messages are stored within Exchange for storing emails: . The takeaway from this document is that while a message itself is an object (a record), there are subobjects (also records) for 1. the message body, 2. recipients and sender(s) 3. subject line and 4. attachments. To the extent that you would likely consider an attachment to be a distinct record, despite being a component of an email message in its method of storage, then it follows that the recipient objects of an email would be a distinct record apart from the message themselves.

With this information in mind, please re-review the request.

From: Information Technology

Good morning,

The City of Worcester provided a response to this request on February 11, 2019. No records exist which are responsive to your request. This request has been closed.

Mike Vigneux
Records Access Officer
Law Department
City of Worcester | 455 Main St., Worcester MA 01608
P: 508-799-1175 x31308<><>


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