RECAP Follow-up

Since I encouraged you to tell your attorneys about RECAP when it was first announced, I feel obligated to pass on this follow-up message from the United States District Court in Maine:

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

DISTRICT OF MAINE

NOTICE RE: RECAP SOFTWARE USAGE

The court would like to make CM/ECF filers aware of certain security concerns relating to a software application or “plug-in” called RECAP, which was designed by a group from Princeton University to enable the sharing of court documents on the Internet.

Once a user loads RECAP, documents that he or she subsequently accesses via PACER are automatically sent to a public Internet repository. Other RECAP/PACER users are then able to see whether documents are available from the Internet repository. RECAP captures District and Bankruptcy Court documents, but has not yet incorporated Appellate Court functionality. At this time, RECAP does not appear to provide users with access to restricted or sealed documents. Please be aware that RECAP is “open-source” software, which can be freely obtained by anyone with Internet access and modified for benign or malicious purposes, such as facilitating unauthorized access to restricted or sealed documents. Accordingly, CM/ECF filers are reminded to be diligent about their computer security practices to ensure that documents are not inadvertently shared or compromised.

The court and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts will continue to analyze the implications of RECAP or related-software and advise you of any ongoing or further [sic]

Bottom line is that RECAP, like most other advancements in information technology is not without its dangers and pitfalls. Keep them in mind and be careful, but don’t forego the advantages.

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