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Question:

What are “public records”?

Answer:

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.