Among a raft of changes proposed to Singapore's Evidence Act, the removal of sections 35 and 36 concerning computer evidence is one that all technologists should look out for.
The removal of the sections does not mean that computer evidence is no longer accepted as court evidence. On the contrary, computer evidence will be treated similar to other forms of evidence.
It means that the courts will treat computer evidence with the same process for other evidence--it will admit computer evidence unless there are concerns over its authenticity wherein the courts can then temper its reliability on such evidence.
This is expected to widen the use of computer evidence especially where computers or modern devices such as video cameras, CCTV, RFID readers and smartphones are used to store or capture evidence.
To lend support to electronic evidence, presumptions have been created in some scenarios--where the capture device is properly used ordinarily, evidence by neutal third parties, evidence adduced by adverse parties and evidence stored by an approved process.
The repealed sections have been around for close to 20 years. In that time, they have awakened lawyers and judges to the issues surrounding the use of computer evidence in court. It is a good time to re-examine these provisions now that the industry is more familiar with handling such evidence.
The consultation on these changes are open until Oct. 30.