Updates on US Federal Rules of Evidence
Authenticating Digital Records
Your organization regularly needs to provide documents, files, and other Electronically Stored Information (ESI) to regulators, auditors, or the court. In addition to providing the files, you’re also expected to provide proof -- beyond a reasonable doubt -- that the documents and files you’ve submitted are authentic, and have not been altered or tampered with in any way.
To prove that your electronic documents, data, and files are authentic, you often need to call upon expert witnesses and employees, with mixed results. “Trust me” doesn’t cut it, and the wax seals to establish authenticity need modernizing in our digital age.
When dealing with a court or trial, this process of certifying and authenticating digital files and electronic copies is expensive and time consuming -- but when dealing with regulators, auditors, or the court of public opinion, not being able to strongly authenticate the data you are providing can carry significant penalties or reputational damages.
Fortunately, a recent legal precedent regarding US Federal Rules of Evidence has clarified this process.