A stenographer from New York recently posted an article on his personal blog titled “Verbit Published Kentuckiana Proceeding Audio Online Without Anyone’s Permission”. On the surface, the point of his article was to identify an alleged incident by Verbit regarding a deposition handled by Kentuckiana Reporters. However, the author of the blog then takes this single event and uses it to argue that all digital court reporters are unprofessional, that they are poorly trained, that they do not take privacy or confidentiality seriously and, that they should not be an accepted method of creating a deposition transcript. All of these statements are false and a gross mischaracterization of the actual matter.
Who are Verbit and Kentuckiana Reporters?
Verbit is one of the leading providers of transcription services in the United States. They utilize a combination of Artificial Intelligence and human transcriptionists to create verbatim transcripts of audio and video recordings. Kentuckiana Reporters, and its affiliated companies, make up one of the largest digital court reporting companies in the United States. With over a million pages of transcripts produced annually, they have set the standard for verbatim court reporting services in their markets.
From phones, to cars, to even refrigerators, Artificial Intelligence has entered every aspect of our lives. Kentuckiana has explored partnering with different providers of AI to assess how it can be partnered with human court reporters to produce verbatim transcripts in the future. We strongly believe that humans must always be a part of the reporting process, but the entry of AI assistance is inevitable. As a company that believes in staying on the cutting edge of technology, it is imperative that we develop and test potential AI applications for the court reporting industry and offer the best possible services to our clients.
Privacy and Confidentiality Standards.
Both Kentuckiana Reporters and Verbit are committed to ensuring the confidentiality and privacy of their client’s depositions. Kentuckiana is fully HIPAA compliant and has policy that prohibits the dissemination of its work beyond what is necessary to produce a transcript. Verbit is HIPAA and SOC-2 compliant. SOC-2, or System and Organization Controls, is a comprehensive reporting framework put forth by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in which independent, third-party auditors (i.e., CPA’s) form an assessment and subsequent testing of controls relating to the Trust Services Criteria (TSC) of Security, Availability, Processing Integrity, Confidentiality or Privacy. In other words, Verbit pays auditors to review its handling of personal information and ensure that such handling complies with the highest standards.
In contrast, most stenographers are not vetted for HIPAA or SOC-2 standards. Instead, they send their audio and rough transcripts to scopists and proofreaders with little or no confidentiality oversight.
The blog post claims that Verbit posted confidential information about one of Kentuckiana’s clients on their website but does not provide you with any context. The information was not generally available on the website. Instead, Verbit would send a link to the page to people who asked to engage as independent legal transcriptionists and actively applied. The page appears to include some transcription created as part of an AI testing process. This would imply that the blogger was either seeking work from Verbit or posing as someone who was seeking work. Of course, that would call into question his motives and is certainly why he neglected to bring up this point.
The alleged incident is being reviewed, as it does not coincide with either Kentuckiana and Verbit’s privacy policies. To be clear, deposition transcripts are routinely filed with every courthouse in America and are considered a matter of public record. In fact, the court file of the deposition being discussed is a matter of public record and is available to the general public at the courthouse. Despite that, Kentuckiana would never agree to such use of its information and would never permit such use. Kentuckiana does not allow disclosure of its transcripts even when they are a matter of public record.
Who is this blogger and what is his Agenda?
The person making these allegations is a stenographic court reporter and the author of a blog called “Stenonymous” whose purpose is to bring people to the “reliable but unremarkable stenographic legion”. Based on the content of his website, we take that to mean that he is an advocate of stenography and a critic of other court reporting means. Does his bias mean that he is always wrong? No. It simply means that he is not an objective reporter of facts but is, instead, an advocate for one position who will always cast the facts in a way that is most beneficial to his point of view. As he has done in this case.
The blogger believes that the legal industry should forever rely on stenography, a technology developed in the late 1800’s, to create its transcripts. We believe we should give reporters access to the best and most advanced technology available to create verbatim transcripts. The good news is that a market exists and that attorneys and their clients can choose what is the best fit for them. Analyzing the differences in those technologies is a long conversation for another day, but a great place to start is here.