Plans for securing government networks in order to protect against cybercrime and hacking is essential. The problem of cyber security is vital—and will only become more important with time—for courts. Information that is stored within a courtroom is sensitive; maintaining control over who has access to those materials is crucial. As legal and courtroom technology continues to advance, security of courtrooms’ networks will be one of the most important areas of development and one of the areas most vital to success.
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Police officers are prohibited from searching a phone during or after an arrest unless they have obtained a warrant. The time that elapses between seizure of a cell phone and the obtaining of the warrant provides enough of a window for a person to successfully remotely wipe the contents of the phone before the police are able to secure the necessary evidence. This creates a dilemma – how can police keep people from destroying possible evidence without violating the Fourth Amendment?
Apparently, the only ‘technology’ required to protect the contents of the phone from being wiped is a simple roll of aluminum foil. When the police seize a phone, they simply have to wrap the phone in a few layers of aluminum foil and the chance of remote wiping of the phone will be almost completely eliminated. To learn more, http://gigaom.com/2013/08/28/how-tin-foil-could-prevent-warrantless-cell-phone-searches-while-preserving-evidence/.
During the Zimmerman murder trial today, remote testimony was being given via Skype with unexpected results. Scott Pleasants, a criminal justice professor at Seminole State College, was about two minutes into testimony when incoming call boxes started popping up on the screen. A loud “bing” noise accompanied each call and made it impossible to hear his testimony. Apparently Pleasant’s username was visible on the screen prompting the barrage of calls.
Pleasants tried to ignore the calls, but the judge ordered the lawyers to hang up the phone. Testimony eventually resumed via a cell phone conversation. To learn more go to www.huffingtonpost.
A paper just published in PNAS took a look at how our memories are reconsolidated after their retrieval. Once touched, a memory is no longer exactly the same. In showing just how easy it is to change certain kinds of memories, the authors not only raise new concerns for eyewitness testimony in the courtroom, but may explain in part why such testimony often tends to accumulate doubt in the face of continued questioning. In six experiments, researchers show that reconsolidation-associated amnesia can be achieved 48 hours after formation of the original memory, but only if relearning occurred soon after retrieval. The results demonstrate that human declarative memory can be selectively rewritten during reconsolidation. To learn more, click here.
Researchers at MIT are working on so-called “4D printing” technology that aims to bring the process up to the macro scale, enabling 3D-printed materials to be programmed to self-assemble into predefined shapes and structures. The 4D printing process (with the assembly over time) involves the use of materials that changes their shape in response to movement or environmental factors, such as the presence of water, air, and/or temperature changes. This is thought to be the first time that a program of transformation has been embedded directly into a material itself. The Self-Assembly Lab believes the technology has the potential to revolutionize a wide variety of fields, including “biology, material science, software, robotics, manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure, construction, the arts, and even space exploration.” To learn more, click here.
The Center for Legal & Court Technology has introduced a new professional education development certificate program in a blended-learning format: Introduction to the US Legal System. This program, designed for congressional and state legislative staffers, legal system professionals, legal technology company staff, journalists, and anyone else interested in understanding more about American Law and our legal system. The complete course consists of a 3-day on campus component, distance learning Part One (Law and the Legal System) and Part Two (Litigation and Substantive Law), along with an option National Center for State Courts (NCSC) Rule of Law Programming. Click here to learn more and register!
“Introduction to the U.S. Legal System provides a compact and in-depth opportunity for non-lawyers to develop savvy in dealing with the legal community and legal issues. The legal system can seem to operate by an arcane set of rules and principles. this course provides the toolbox to decode what’s really going on and deal effectively with lawyers and the legal systems. It’s especially suited for those who offer products and services that can be useful to those in the legal system or n0n-lawyers who regularly work with lawyers, judges or the judicial systems.”
Mark Chandler, Cisco
The idea of using definitions developed by popular consensus to define words in court cases arose when some lawyers and judges were confronted with unfamiliar words that aren’t defined either by Webster’s or Black’s dictionaries. They have turned to a street-slang resource, the Urban Dictionary. Though the Urban Dictionary gives some clarification of informal language, it is not totally reliable and could prove to be disastrous in court. Although a fan of the Urban Dictionary, Tom Dazell, senior editor of the New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, notes that just because the definitions have popular support, it does not indicate they can be defended in court to represent true meaning. To learn more, go to http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/urban_dictionary_defines_slang_for_some_court_cases_but_is_it_accurate/.
Leap Motion recently released a video showing what its 3D gesture-control system will be like on a Windows computer. With Leap Motion technology and Windows, you can do everything possible with multi-touch inputs without actually touching anything. This means that existing applications in Windows 7 and 8 will respond to your natural hand and finger movements. The Leap system is planned for a July launch. To learn more, go to http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57585392-76/leap-motion-shows-off-windows-compatibility/.
During National Cyber Awareness Week, technology law expert Nigel Wilson, from the University of Adelaide’s School of law, explained the potential problems and legal pitfalls of the rapidly growing use of cloud computing. Security of data and protection of identity are major risks of using web and computer-based technologies. Wilson says that those using cloud computing should investigate whether their main service provider is subcontracting out some of its services. If so, legal issues could occur since the user’s agreement is not with these subcontractors. “Cloud computing is an important technology adopted by major corporations, governments and others rights around the world, and for good reason. But like all technologies of this nature, you need to be careful when using them.” To learn more, go to http://phys.org/news/2013-05-cyber-cloud.html.