Email as legal evidence
Thu, 21 Nov 1996 23:00:26 +1000
At 22:05 21/11/96 +1100, Robert Hart wrote:
>On Thu, 21 Nov 1996, Greg Taylor wrote:
>> Given the ease with which E-Mail can be forged, it is worrying that it is
>> so explicitly defined as admissable evidence.
>Eek - this is a real concern. Have there been any cases in which email has
>been used as evidence? I would have thought that the opposition's lawyers
>would have no trouble at all in showing that it is almost valueless...
Paper documents can be forged relatively easily, especially non-personal
stuff like printed invoices. Lots of tests need to be applied to show that a
paper document is or is not real, once its origins are called into question.
Evidence such as other correspondence betwen the sender and recipient,
corroboration of content or intent in other media, witnesses to the creation
or sending of the letter, the opinion of style experts regarding the writing
or the content, the time of sending, the method of sending, whether similar
missives had previously been sent, the nature of the content and its
applicability to the sender or recipient and so forth is called into play to
judge the veracity of a paper letter. Most such evidence can be called into
play to judge the veracity of an email.
Any missive including digital signature technology such as PGP keys or what
have you can in fact be MORE positively identified as real/bogus than a
missive without it, regardless of whether it is on paper or any other
medium. I would most sincerely hope that such an instrument would indeed be
Karl Auer: firstname.lastname@example.org +61-6-2494627 (bh)
http://www.pcug.org.au/~kauer/ +61-6-2486607 (ah)
Join the Internet Society of Australia! http://www.isoc-au.org.au