Filing Procedures for Highly Sensitive Documents

Recent disclosures of widespread cybersecurity breaches of both private sector and government computer systems have prompted the federal courts to add new security procedures to protect highly sensitive documents (“HSDs”) filed with the courts.  HSDs contain information that is so sensitive and confidential that additional precautions beyond sealing the document from public view on the Court’s CM/ECF system is required.  Factors used to determine whether a document constitutes an HSD include whether the case involves: national security; foreign sovereign interests; criminal activity related to cybersecurity; intellectual property, trade secrets, or sensitive commercial information likely to be of interest to foreign powers; terrorism; investigation of public officials; or the reputational interests of the United States.  The following types of documents are generally not considered HSDs: Social Security records, administrative immigration records, information about minors, documents related to domestic abuse, and most other sealed filings in bankruptcy cases.

In order to provide appropriate safeguards for HSDs, they must be filed in paper and not under seal through the Court’s electronic case filing system (CM/ECF).  For HSD filing instructions, or if you believe you previously filed an HSD document with the Court, please contact the Clerk’s Office at (410) 962-2688 or (301) 344-8018 for further instructions.