Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How easy is it to hoodwink a judge on technical matters?

A hood-wink

From the website of Dr. Ehud Roffeh, a straight-talking Israeli cyber-crime expert

"Everything can be brought before a judge--
legal challenges in a technological era

They decide the fate of individuals and organisations on a daily basis. Every year they reach thousands of decisions and are faced with many varied, complex and challenging situations. They are carefully chosen after many years of accumulated knowledge and experience and nobody questions their abilities. However, there is one challenge, inevitable in this day and age, where they often find themselves helpless. Amongst themselves, and often also in public, they admit that never ending technological innovations leave them without the knowledge and the tools required to make clear and considered judgments.

Some years ago Judge Mica Agmon-Gonen stated in a legal tribunal that: "…the courts' shouldn't have to deal with this…" One judge admitted, during a hearing, that he did not know how to deal with technological issues, and yet another judge asked that she be presented with an expert opinion from a computer expert whose decision with regard to the issue before the court would be binding and final.

Statements such as these are evidence of the sad state of affairs that the legal system finds itself in. Whether this is due to a lack of experience or the slow speed that the wheels of justice turn at (especially when compared to the frequency of technological innovations that are a hallmark of this century), Judges, and let's be honest about this, lack the knowledge and the expertise to judge these complex issues. Even the leaders of the legal system understand that more and more cases dealing with or hinging on technological matters are appearing before the courts and that, in its turn, demands that the legal system rethinks itself."

As an ordinary citizen and blogger, I ask -- How do we really know if Judge Selna is fully appraised and trained or sufficiently advised in engineering matters to understand and pass judgment on the validity of the reasons for the technical secrecy?