Hidden data embedded in electronic public records must be disclosed under Arizona's public-records law, the state Supreme Court ruled Oct. 29 in a case that could have implications for public schools and colleges across the United States.

The Arizona Supreme Court's unanimous decision overturned lower courts' rulings and is one of the first decisions by a state appellate court on whether a public-records law applies to so-called "metadata"--data about data.

Metadata can show how and when a document was created or revised and by whom. The information isn't visible when a document is printed on paper, nor does it appear on screen...

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