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Monday, February 20, 2012

Authentication of legal materials - how hard can it be?

Wow. Two minutes after I post about UELMA I get asked "how hard can it be?". A flavor of the issues that must be addressed can be found here.

UELMA and authentication

I see that three US states have introduced UELMA (Uniform Electronic Legal Materials Act) bills.

That is great but the hard work begins once these bills make it and government agencies (executive, judicial, legislative) grapple with the realities of the "how".

The good news is that it is doable but it involves - in my opinion - looking at the problem from the perspective of provenance aware storage combined with point-in-time, permanent URLs. That necessitates looking at the problem from an end-to-end "enterprise architecture" view of Legislative Informatics. No bolt-on at the end of your law-making process will be good enough to stand up to judicial tests of authenticity in my opinion.

LWB goes to great lengths to preserve provenance and provide point-in-time citation precisely to enable legislation like UELMA to be complied with.