Friday, August 26, 2005

CTC9 Justice Integration Net

New at CTC9, the Justice Integration Net, sponsored by Microsoft Corporation and powered by SAIC, will demonstrate how a jurisdiction can quickly realize the benefits of an integrated justice system. As many court technology experts know, criminal justice integration has been a difficult and expensive enterprise. In addition, issues such as security, authentication and trust have been significant barriers. The Justice Integration Net demonstration will incorporate all of the technologies and components you expect - XML, middleware, digital signatures, speech recognition, and more - and present a framework for evolving standards and solutions, all in a compact demonstration venue adjacent to the NCSC Pavilion in booth number 435. The CTC9 Justice Integration Net will also demonstrate what is possible in integration today using off-the-shelf software and hardware. Presentations will be made on the half-hour for most of the first day and on the hour on the second day of the exhibition.

Monday, August 22, 2005

NCSC Jur-E Bulletin Warning on Identity Theft

The August 5, 2005 edition of the NCSC's Center for Jury Studies Jur-E Bulletin contained the announcement on the latest identity theft scam.
Identity Theft Alert: Courts Beware
It seems that the latest target for those in the identity theft business is the jury system, as Jur-E was made aware of two separate cases this week in which jury programs were being used as a vehicle for obtaining individuals' personal information.
First, in Maricopa County, Arizona, citizens have been the targets of phone calls from individuals claiming to be court officials. These occurrences have drastically increased over the past month. Often, the individual claiming to be an agent of the court indicated that the phone call was in regards to jury service, issuing harsh threats regarding failure to appear and requesting personal information for "verification purposes."
Maricopa County was made aware of the problem when citizens called the court directly to question the validity of the calls, and to complain about the treatment they had received from the individuals posing as court staff. The court reacted swiftly, issuing a statement to the press emphasizing that the court would never request personal information over the phone, and also providing warning signs to prevent identity theft and fraud over the phone. In the press release, the court emphasized that they did not contact individuals over the phone regarding jury duty at any time.
A similar scam was reported in Thurston County, Washington. Again, a resident called the court to report that a man, claiming to be a court official, had called her at home regarding her "failure to appear at jury service." The caller pressed the woman for her Social Security number, name, and date of birth. The court emphasized in their statement to the press that they would never request such information over the phone.
Both of these cases should serve as notification to courts around the country that this type of fraud may be on the rise. Jur-E has heard of other similar cases over the course of the past year, but it seems as though they are increasing in frequency. In both cases in question, courts responded quickly to the claims and made public their policies regarding jury duty and non-response follow-up. This case further emphasizes the importance of jury managers maintaining communication with the general public. See our NCSC KIS department's page on trends in identity theft for more information.