In United States v. Lizarraga-Tirado, No. 13-10530, 2015 WL 3772772 (9th Cir. June 18, 2015), the Ninth Circuit decided “a question born of  newfound technological prowess,” ruling that a Google Earth satellite image and a digital “tack” labeled with GPS coordinates are not hearsay. In this case, a dispute arose over which side of the U.S.-Mexico border defendant was on when he was arrested. At trial, the government introduced a Google Earth satellite image with a digital tack showing where the agents testified they were on the night of defendant’s arrest. Defense counsel objected to the exhibit on hearsay grounds, but the district court overruled the objection and admitted the image into evidence. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that a Google satellite image, like a photograph, is not hearsay because it makes no “assertion.” The court acknowledged that the digital tack (or marker) presented a more difficult question, inasmuch as that did make an assertion, but nonetheless ruled that it, too, was not hearsay. The court reasoned that the hearsay rule under FRE 801(a) applies only to “a person’s” assertions; because the tack had been automatically generated by the Google Earth program by typing in GPS coordinates recorded by the agents on the night of the arrest, the assertion was not made by a person, but by a computer program, and therefore was not hearsay under the Rule.