Courts have always had to adapt to societal changes and new technologies. One of the latest stumbling blocks encountered by courts all over the world is the humble emoji. The issue courts are having with emojis generally concern how they should be interpreted. This issue can be especially difficult for older judges who are simply not familiar with this new facet of communicating. In other cases, due to issues actually inserting a symbol into transcripts, like a smiley face or an eggplant, the emojis are simply left off the official record.
This fact can be very concerning to those who are familiar with the sort of visual slang that becomes associated with different emoji. Those various little faces, hands and icons can carry a lot more meaning than a simple smile. There are over a thousand different emojis maintained by the Unicode Consortium, the Organization that maintains the Unicode text standards, so it is no wonder interpreting these pictographs has been a challenge. There really are no standard guidelines on how to interpret the different icons leaving this task up to individual judges and the attorneys arguing their own interpretations.
To add another level of difficulty to this situation, it is important to remember that emojis are not completely standardized platform to platform. For example while the Unicode consortium does maintain a pistol emoji, depending on the device one is using it may be displayed as a grey revolver, a toy gun or even a squirt gun. Obviously this type of variation can lead to confusion about their meaning as they are sent between different platforms like Android and iOS.
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Digital Forensics/Cybersecurity/Information Technology