Justice 2.0: criminal procedure goes digital

Justice 2.0 : la procédure pénale se numérise Cybersecurity

The digital transformation of justice is under way. A decree was published today in the Official Journal creating an automated processing of personal data called “digital criminal record” (DPN). This processing, which includes inter alia a recasting of the processing “digitization of criminal procedures” (NPP), framed by the decree dated January 16, 2008, must allow “both the digitization of criminal judicial procedures initially created in paper format as their native dematerialization ”, presents the decree.

Complete preservation of the procedure file therefore no longer requires going through the paper medium or a handwritten signature. This is an “additional brick in the digital transformation of criminal law already started for example with the establishment of the PLEX platform (External Exchange Platform) allowing lawyers in particular to be provided with the digital copies of the criminal files by the dematerialized way ”, evokes Thierry Vallat, lawyer specialist in digital law, interviewed by ZDNet.

If the latter sees rather a positive view of this “small” digital revolution, he fears, however, that the sector is not quite ready for it. The penal world is revealing “until now little inclined, even reluctant, to the introduction of digital technologies and preferring in 2020 the use of the fax, still very much used, than that of e-mails”, he explains.

And these past few months do not contradict his analysis: “and what about the use of videoconferencing for hearings whose technical limits are too often disastrous for the defendant and the rights of the defense,” added the lawyer from Paris.

Streamline the transmission of files

However, the digitization of criminal legal proceedings promises to facilitate the transmission, conversation and archiving of more secure files. “The development of a natively digital criminal procedure will make it possible to completely dematerialize exchanges, to authenticate acts by an electronic signature and to archive procedures electronically and securely. The disappearance of paper files should in particular facilitate the construction and management of files, generating time savings from the filing of the complaint until the execution of the sentence. The paper, the handwritten signature page by page, sometimes the affixing of a seal, will thus give way to an entirely dematerialized file, serving as the sole support for the criminal trial ”, maintains the Ministry of Justice.

The first digital audiences tested in Blois and Amiens in 2019 also proved to be conclusive, paving the way for a more general dematerialization of exchanges between the judicial authority and investigative services. “If everything is thought out and works correctly, this will undoubtedly be progress for the fluidity and speed of exchanges between members of the criminal chain, essential because of the often very short procedural deadlines”, approves Thierry Vallat.

For the lawyer, the biggest challenges lie essentially on the security aspect. “Because, for my part, I am delighted that the procedural exchanges can finally be dematerialized, of course subject to their confidentiality and the security of the information transmitted, it will still be necessary that the systems put in place are intact, correctly encrypted and reliable: and therefore that sufficient resources be allocated to the work of digital justice. “

The CNIL warns about the password policy

A fear shared by the CNIL, asked for an opinion on the draft decree. If the Commission “takes note of the encryption measures for individual workstations”, it recalls that “access to workstations must require the user to connect to a nominative account” and that “sessions must be automatically locked after a period of ‘reasonable inactivity’. It also recalls that “workstations must have a firewall, and that the software and operating systems installed must be updated”. The CNIL also notes that the password policy provided is “not in accordance” with its recommendations in this area.

Thierry Vallat is also worried about “the extent of the people likely to be recipients of the information recorded in the processing”, he continues. According to the text of the decree, this includes in particular “any administration, establishment, authority, or public or private person, authorized under specific legislative or regulatory provisions, to be communicated all or part of a criminal case or a decision “

But overall, this digital leap in French justice is necessary, concedes the lawyer, pointing out that “France is far behind on this subject”. Moreover, “the experiences carried out abroad on the introduction of information and communication technologies have on the whole made it possible to note that they made it possible to improve the administration of justice and the functioning of the courts of law. ‘from an organizational point of view’, he justifies. For Thierry Vallat, the great unknown lies above all in “respect for criminal time”, which according to him, “should not be accelerated under the pretext of the speed of digital exchanges”.

Source: www.zdnet.fr

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