What are “public records”?
All books, papers, maps, photographs, recorded tapes, financial statements, statistical tabulations, or other documentary materials or data, made or received by MassDOT, are presumed to be public records, unless a specific statutory exemption or applicable privilege permits or requires them to be withheld, in whole or in part. These exemptions/privileges are meant to protect, for example, the release of personal and private information, ongoing agency deliberations, and the release of security-sensitive data. A Records Access Officer (RAO) must show with specificity why the record is being withheld, and has the burden of showing how the exemption and/or privilege applies.
NOTE: By law, a public record does not include the creation of a record; it also only applies to records in our custody that exist at the time of the request.