Data Generated by New Technologies and the Law

13 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2018 Last revised: 30 Jul 2019

See all articles by Andrew Sellars

Andrew Sellars

Boston University School of Law; Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Date Written: July 29, 2019


This brief paper, created as part of a training on new technologies and evidence for MCLE New England, outlines the standards used to compel disclosure of information under the Stored Communication Act, and reviews the types of data stored on various consumer devices and their likely custodians, as well as cases and notes relevant to each devices. The paper serves as a quick introduction and checklist for those considering gathering information from these devices in the course of investigations in Massachusetts. The devices outlined include cell phones, social media platforms, secure messaging services, fitness trackers, home assistant devices (or "smart speakers"), and in-home "Internet of Things" devices. The 2019 edition updates and expands on the prior edition, with an expanded discussion of facial analysis technology.

Keywords: Stored Communications Act, Technology, Consumer Devices, Data Storage

JEL Classification: K00, K13, K41, K42, Y20

Suggested Citation

Sellars, Andrew, Data Generated by New Technologies and the Law (July 29, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Andrew Sellars (Contact Author)

Boston University School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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