Unveiling the New York Public Record Law

The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIL”), Article 6 (sections 84 to 90) of the New York State Public Officials Act, grants the public the right to access records maintained by government agencies, with certain exceptions. As per the New York Public Servants Act (N, Y.), there are no limitations on the number of members of the public who can request records. In order to facilitate communication between the New York State government and the public, a social media policy has been created. This policy identifies social media posts and communications as public records in New York and reveals that these records can be treated as public information.

This policy helps New York agencies to comply with the New York Freedom of Information Act (“FOIL”). The FOIL also applies to records kept by police officers in leather-bound books, even though they are physically maintained by the officers themselves. To respond to a request for such records, a computer operator must create new records through a “computer execution”. FOIL appeals in New York are handled by an independent oversight board, known as the Open Government Commission.

If records are transferred from one agency to another, the agency must retrieve and provide them. Court records held by state agencies become public records and other laws allow for their release. The statute applies not only to formal or regular meetings, but also to any meeting or meeting of the quorum of a public body for the purpose of carrying out public transactions. Although technically governed by a state public records law, functionally New York has two: the FOIL from New York City and the FOIL from anywhere else in the state.

For confidentiality cases, see Matter of Exoneration Initiative v. New York City Police Department, 114 A. In addition, allowing the transferred record to be read or printed will not be considered the preparation or creation of a new record.

Rory Rabinovich
Rory Rabinovich

Hardcore beer fanatic. Avid zombie lover. Certified zombie aficionado. Infuriatingly humble social media scholar. Passionate pop culture buff.

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