Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Authentication of Electronic Law

AALL National Summit on Authentic Legal Information in the Digital Age

Tim Coggins reported at the ALL-SIS Directors Breakfast on this important meeting. He, Bob Oakley, Keith Ann Stiverson, (and my notes fail here), represented AALL at a meeting that included a number of judges, legislative personnel, reporters of decisions, a woman from the Uniform Law Commissioners NCCUSL.org and people from the Council of State Governments http://www.csg.org/.

At a ground-breaking joint meeting, they learned from one another about the current state practices of either adding “official” versions of electronic decisions, statutes and regulations on the web, or even using such collections instead of print versions. They discussed how to create and certify authentic versions online, with content verified by government as complete and unaltered, compared to the original version approved and/or published by the content originator (judges, legislators or agency). There may be a uniform law developed, and certainly they are closer to developing best practices.

There is a report at aallnet, but the URL in the handout does not work. There is some report from the AALL Washington Office to last spring's SEALL meeting on the web, with appendices about this topic at here. Be warned that it is a long download, even with a fast connection. You can purchase the report in print at aallnet.org,though I don't see it on the page yet. Bob Berring has produced two articles on the topic, one in a California law review and the other in the Green Bag, titled “Losing the Law.” People interested in this important issue may also want to know that there is a GPO White Paper defining authentic electronic text, from 2005, at link. The members are continuing to work on the problem

I am very proud of AALL and my colleagues, and offer congratulations to them and to Claire Germaine who, while president of AALL raised the issue and charged the committee. Important contributions!

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

Now that I'm back in my office, I see that the July, 2007 issue of Spectrum, at pages 6-7 and 11 cover this topic. It's an excellent report, with good links included in the text. You'll get more detail reading the Spectrum article, which is the month's Washington Brief by Mary Alice Baish!