New Rules Tackle Authentication of Electronic Data

Extract from article by Carl Mazurek

On December 1, 2017, two amendments to the Federal Rules of Evidence came into effect that impact how courts authenticate digital evidence. The addition of two categories to Rule 902’s list of self-authenticating documents seeks to streamline the introduction of digital evidence by avoiding costly delays that often serve little purpose. In doing so, it promises greater efficiency to those who adapt their practices to the new requirements.

Rule 902(13) waives the requirement of external authentication for “records generated by an electronic process or system,” provided that the accuracy of the process or system is certified by a person who meets the qualification requirements of 902(11) or (12). Examples of such records provided by the Advisory Committee include an operating system’s automated log of all USB devices connected to the computer, or a phone software’s machine-generated record of the time, date, and GPS coordinates of each picture taken.

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