Legal Informatics Papers @ ECEG 2011

The following legal informatics papers were presented at ECEG 2011: The 11th European Conference on eGovernment, held 16-17 June 2011, at the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Administration, in Ljubljana, Slovenia. (If you know of other legal informatics papers presented at the conference, please feel free to identify them in the comments; click here for the abstracts of most of the conference papers):

Mila Gascó and Carlos E Jiménez, Interoperability in the Justice Field: Variables That Affect Implementation. Abstract:

Several public institutions and agencies around the world have designed and implemented important electronic government strategies and plans. This has not been the case in the justice field. However, in the last very few years, the growing demand for efficient judicial systems has sped up the adoption of information and communication technologies (ICT) aimed at improving access to justice, increasing cooperation between legal authorities and strengthening the justice system itself. As in other areas, the new technologies are becoming a key tool in order to achieve these goals. That is so because information systems contribute to homogenize tasks and activities, to obtain management indicators and to make telematic connections with other public administrations and registers, with professionals and judicial institutions and with citizens. One of the more important aspects of this technological modernization has to do with interoperability since it guarantees the harmonic and cohesive functioning of different existing systems, processes, and applications that, in the justice field, are many as a result of the big variety of actors that are involved: judicial institutions but, also, different public administrations, such as those responsible of police forces, and law professionals. Taken this context into account, this paper is the result of an empirical research that was conducted during 2010 in the Generalitat de Catalunya (Autonomous Government of Catalonia) with regard to the e-government project “e-Justícia.cat”, an electronic justice initiative. In particular, the research was aimed at finding what factors conditioned the implementation of the interoperability modules of the project. In this respect, the paper presents the experience of GRP (management of police requests) and analyzes those variables that have been key in the implementation process in order to identify common patterns that may guide future interventions and projects in a field that is characterized by specific attributes that hinder technology adoption.

Hille Hinsberg, e-Participation Building Blocks in Estonia. Summary:

  • Discusses “ID cards [...] enabling both electronic authentication and digital signing; [...] government online registers…; Estonia’s internet voting infrastructure,” and www.osale.ee, “[t]he Estonian Government’s central participation portal”:

www.osale.ee (‘osale’ means ‘participate’ in Estonian) was launched in 2007, allowing interest groups and individuals to comment on draft policy documents, launch their own ideas and initiatives for new legislation and amendments, and submit petitions. Other users can vote and comment on these proposals. Then the proposal is forwarded to the relevant government department, which in turn posts an answer, explaining what action was or was not taken and why. Currently, e-participation is about to be embedded in the policy-making framework to fulfill its potential for empowering citizens. Osale.ee consultations have been integrated with government’s policy preparation portal, where the full cycle of legal acts and policies becomes accessible for wider audience. Assisted by the new tool EIS, all interested groups and individuals can follow the policy-making process and provide comments throughout the stages, until the act is presented to the government session.

Bernhard Horn, Gerald Fischer, Roman Trabitsch and Thomas Grechenig, An Outline of the Technical Requirements on Governmental Electronic Record Systems Derived from the European Legal Environment. Abstract:

In modern e-government administrations, regulatory documents are not only drafted using computer tools but are increasingly managed using Electronic Record Systems (ERS). Such tools mean that coordination and administrative procedures do not only have to occur via e-mail or similar technologies. To execute the next administrational step using traditional methods, each officer has to know the inner organisational workflow and therefore those clerks responsible for performing the next administrational step to be able to forward the record to the correct person. Though till now this way of working has been quite common in many official organisations, there are a considerable number of software products available, which implement ERS, to assist performing administrative procedures electronically. When an officer has finished his respective process step, such a system automatically forwards the documents to the next responsible person. Moreover if several clerks have to perform a step in parallel, it is not necessary to copy the whole file several times but only to grant appropriate access permissions to the documents. Thus at any moment, everyone has the record in its latest version. Furthermore the whole administrative act can be tracked and monitored. It is important to remember however that within the European Union a couple of regulatory rules have to be obeyed when implementing and using such ERS. The providers of such systems as well as the authority using them are responsible for ensuring legal conformity. The aim of this paper is to give a brief overview of the applicable European regulations concerning ERS for responsible stakeholders, such as IT-system designers and providers, administration chiefs, or researchers in the field of e-government.

Marijn Plomp and Jan Grijpink, Combating Identity Fraud in the Public Domain: Information Strategies for Healthcare and Criminal Justice. Abstract:

[...] We introduce the theoretical framework of Chaincomputerisation that explains large-scale chain co-operation as an answer to a dominant chain problem. Identity fraud proves to be the dominant chain problem in many chain co-operation situations. Therefore, our main research question is: what is a successful information strategy to combat identity fraud in the large-scale processes that constitute the public domain? Next, we demonstrate the problem of identity fraud using the example of the Dutch criminal justice chain, showing that a certain chain communication system enables to stop identity fraud using forensic biometrics. The second example is about healthcare. In the Netherlands, the government is introducing a national system of medical information exchange based on the national personal number as the sole identifier for recognition and linking. We show that people sometimes have interest in using somebody else’s number, to be treated in cases (s)he is not insured. [...] The examples are taken from our chain analysis programme that has an exploratory, empirical character. A chain analysis tests empirical findings against the theoretical framework of Chaincomputerisation, to derive a suitable chain-specific information strategy. We use this novel approach which is specifically tailored to the peculiarities of large-scale situations, as opposed to the small-scale approach usually employed in these cases. The traditional authentication procedures do not take into account ‘wrong person’ identity fraud that causes fraud surreptitiously spreading from chain to chain. Therefore, in both cases, the problem of identity fraud presents a threat to the chain co-operation that has to be tackled with a large-scale approach and with person-oriented security procedures and instruments that are indeed able to prevent identity fraud from happening undetected. It is precisely this approach and this type of procedures and instruments that are explained here. [...] Finally, we argue that an information strategy using basic, but chain-specific information systems, combined with random identity verification procedures enable combating identity fraud.

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