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Ex Parte/Restricted Access/Sealed Filing



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.  At this time, RECAP does not appear to provide users with access to restricted or sealed documents.  However, if a document is inadvertently publicly filed, and it is later discovered that it should have been filed under seal or restricted in some way -- in the interim a RECAP/PACER user could have already accessed the document and shared it to the internet repository.  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 concerns.