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Maryland Public Record Laws

Website & Social Media Archiving for Maryland State Agencies

Do you represent a Maryland State Government Agency and wondering how you should archive all your web and social media content? Are you trying to determine what you need to do both from a legal and a technical point of view? Here’s a guide to the different Laws and processes you should follow.

What Laws Govern Records Management in the State of Maryland?

Maryland Public Information Act (PIA) and Maryland Open Meetings Act legislate the ways in which the public have access to public records and social media records of official bodies at all levels. The PIA is found in the Code of Maryland (Md. Code Ann., State Gov’t §§ 10-611 to 10-628) and the objective is to “grant the people of the State a broad right of access to public records while protecting the legitimate interests of government and the privacy rights of individual citizens” (Maryland AG Joseph Curran Jr.)

Do Maryland State Records Laws include Website and Social Media content?

Yes, they do. NARA state that is a “[P]ublic expectation that all web content is both permanently valuable and accessible”. Social media and web records are subject to these standards as well as the relevant metadata being pertinent to these laws.

The PIA, unlike FOIA, covers all “public” records and is not limited to records of “agencies.” Public records are any records that are made or received by a relevant agency in connection with the transaction of public business.The term “public record” is purposely broad in Maryland and is defined in GP § 4-101(h) to include written material, photographs, photostats, computerized records – even a database set up by a private vendor for use by a public agency for risk management purposes is a “public record.”

The term “public record” is purposely broad in Maryland and is defined in GP § 4-101(h) to include written material, photographs, photostats, computerized records – even a database set up by a private vendor for use by a public agency for risk management purposes is a “public record.”

What agencies are subject to these laws?

The PIA covers virtually all public agencies or officials in the State. It includes all branches of State government – legislative, judicial, and executive. The PIA covers a broader range of government entities than FOIA and some other public records laws.

What is my agency required to do in line with these regulations?

Agencies must create specific record retention schedules for social networking records preserve responsive records subject to this period. GP § 4-201(b) provides that, “[t]o protect public records and to prevent unnecessary interference with official business, [an] official custodian shall adopt reasonable rules and regulations that . . . Govern timely production and inspection of a public record.” There is a requirement by most agencies that documents be electronically formatted.

In which form do I need to archive my records?

As the Attorney General office urges agencies to accede to the requester’s choice of format when producing records, which may be in computerized format, electronic records management is most efficient and advised.

How can we transfer website archives made with PageFreezer to the Maryland State Digital Archives?

PageFreezer exports all data on request in the original file format including the required metadata. This data set can be transferred by FTP or by other means to the Nevada State or Agency Digital Archives.

How can PageFreezer help our agency?

PageFreezer has been working on our Archiving technology and processes since 2006 – We know how to properly archive Web Sites, Blogs and Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Just ask any of our over 500 clients including US Cities, Counties and other Government Agencies as well as Multinationals, Financial Service Firms, Healthcare Providers …

Our clients know our technology is secure, reliable and authenticated. More importantly they appreciate the ease-of-use.

That’s why our complex technology is simple to use – The archiving is automatic and retrieval is a matter of signing in, going to the date you want, and browsing your site just like you did when the content was just published.

If you have questions about any of this or about how to actually implement effective Online Public Records management, start a free trial, schedule a demo or contact us directly.

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Links:

Maryland Public Information Act FAQ Open Government Guide