Home » Cyber Awareness » Cyber Law » Does Evidence from Wayback Machine Admissible Evidence in Indian Court?

Does Evidence from Wayback Machine Admissible Evidence in Indian Court?

Written by Anuraag Singh ~ Modified: 19-03-2022 ~ Cyber Law ~ 6 Minutes Reading

Evidence from Wayback Machine Admissible in Court

For years, the Wayback Machine has allowed users to go “back in time” and explore how websites looked in the past. But, is the information obtained via the Wayback Machine admissible in court?

Many businesses are running online these days as it’s way more convenient than the traditional approach. And with the help of a website, the marketing of the products becomes much easier. 

But, what if your business partner sues you for an event related to your business that occurred many years back? What if some of your web content goes missing while updating the website? Can you recover your content history online and use it as proof in court? Also, is there any way from where you can collect information, a place that acts as evidence in front of the court and thus prove yourself innocent?

Let’s find out the answers!

Firstly, you can go back in time to collect clues of the deleted web pages online by using a platform named Wayback Machine. Here, the Cyber Expert of India can help you in digging deeper into this online platform to provide you with the relevant evidence you need for your case.

So, now you know for finding out any lost website or content related to your case, you can take the help of t the Wayback Machine. But what is this Wayback Machine? And is the evidence gathered from the Wayback Machine admissible in court?

Let’s explore the same.

Wayback Machine and its Uses

The Wayback Machine is a digital library of archived websites maintained over some time. It allows the users to time travel and see how the websites used to look.

Wayback Machine Admissible Evidence

However, it only captures the information, and cannot generate the website as a whole.

The Internet Archive was found by the Wayback Machine. By using this you can easily search for websites for a given date.

In addition to seeking a particular website, many lawyers use this platform for collecting electronic evidence for their cases.

But, the question arises is collecting the electronic evidence of any use? Will the evidence from Wayback Machine be admissible in the court of law?

Thus, understanding the laws regarding electronic evidence and whether the evidence is admissible in court or not could give us a clearer picture.

Indian Evidence Act Citing Electronic Evidence

According to the Indian Evidence Act, under sections 65A and 65B, there is a provision where you can provide electronic evidence before the court. This electronic evidence could be in form of electronic records such as text, graphics, archived websites, or other information in digital form.

  • Section 65A

Based on section 65A, the electronic record must be confirmed as evidence in line with the needs of section 65B.

  • Section 65B

In Section 65B(1), any information confined in an electronic record (a computer output) is considered to be a document that is admissible as evidence in court without further proof. And section 65B(2) declares that the information should be categorized as ‘computer output’.

The archived websites in the Wayback Machine are nothing but a form of an electronic record. From the above Act, you can say that these act as electronic evidence.

However, in the context of a dependable source, can you rely on the Wayback Machine for evidence accumulation.

Is the Wayback Machine a Reliable Source for Collecting Evidence?

The answer is Yes, you can collect facts from here! 

For example, in one case,  the client (1st party) sold a division of its business to another company (2nd party). But the other company (2nd party) claimed that the product liabilities associated with that division are not their concern. 

However, the lawyers who were backing the 1st party, accessed the Wayback Machine for the websites to find out the warning regarding product liabilities of the division that is sold. They found that the warnings related to product issues still remained on the website even after selling the division. That is, the product liabilities will be the sole concern of the buyer after the deal closes.

Hence, the lawyers gathered this resource from the Wayback Machine as a piece of evidence. Further, presented before the judges.

In contrast, in some cases, the contents in the archived websites are not completely genuine.

So let’s discuss this matter with some examples.

Are the Records from the Wayback Machine Authentic?

Let’s clarify the confusion here. There is no doubt that you can collect evidence from the Wayback Machine. But, no matter how convincing the archives from the Wayback Machine might be, to be admissible in court, the records have to prove their authenticity.

For instance, in the Dyno v Orica hearing. Dyno placed the printouts from the Wayback Machine of a website utilized on behalf of Orica. By those printouts, Dyno tried to prove his point at the priority date of the patent in dispute.

But, Orica opposed the admission of the evidence from the Wayback Machine. Orica claimed that those documents are hearsay documents and these materials did not fall under the business records.

Later on, His Honour agreed on the fact that the materials consisted of hearsay representation of the content of the website at a particular point in time.

Hence, you can see from the above case that the evidence from the Wayback Machine comes with limitations. However, you can submit the documents from the Wayback Machine as proof in court. But, the evidence alone might not be authentic enough to give you justice.

key Takeaways

  • The Wayback Machine consists of archived websites, so you can say that these act as electronic evidence.
  • If you talk about a legitimate source, many lawyers take references from the Wayback Machine for collecting evidence. They usually do this, to decide what a client or third party said online on a topic that could make or break the case.
  • However, are they admissible as evidence in court is the main concern. So, to carry out that, Anuraag Singh will keenly look into the pieces of evidence, and make sure that these have not been tampered with. Then, the series of evidence will undergo a strict test of admissibility. As a result, from the evidence, the only conclusion remains, the accused is guilty and you won the case.