Nancy King (Vanderbilt) recently alerted me to an unfolding development that will potentially implicate researchers who use the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) database, an electronic public access service that allows users to obtain case and docket information from Federal Appellate, District and Bankruptcy courts, and from the U.S. Party/Case Index. (For more general info on PACER, click here.)
Advisory Committees for the Federal Rules have circulated proposed rules designed to comply with a recent statutory mandate "to protect privacy and security concerns relating to electronic filing of documents and the public availability . . . of documents filed electronically." Researchers who turn to PACER for data (and others) may be interested in what limitations may be put upon the information that is available from federal court files. The proposed appellate, criminal, civil, and bankruptcy rules have been circulated for comment. Comments are now posted on the Federal Rulemaking website (here).