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Integrity, of lack thereof, of the electronic record systems of the courts of the State of Israel
Joseph Zernik, PhD
Human Rights Alert (NGO)
e-mail: [email protected]
Abstract— The Human Rights Alert (NGO) submission for the Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in Israel, filed in May 2012, is probably a first – being narrowly focused on integrity, or lack thereof, of the electronic record systems of the Supreme Court, district courts, and the detainees’ courts of the State of Israel. The underlying research is primarily based on data mining of the online public records of the courts.
Supreme Court: On or about March 2002, integrity of the electronic records was seriously compromised. Around that date, increased irregularity is seen in certification authorities and numerous falsified decision records were discovered. Today, all electronic records are published with no certification at all, “subject to editing and phrasing changes”. False and deliberately misleading certifications of decisions of the Supreme Court, which were recently issued by the office of the Chief Clerk, were also discovered. The Administration of Courts also refused to produce the appointment record of the current Chief Clerk, if any existed.
District Courts: The publicly accessible records were found invalid, primarily for failure to display visible, reliable digital signatures of judges and authentication records by clerks. The State Ombudsman’s Report 60b (2010) details various apparent violations of the law in development and implementation of the system.
Detainees Courts: The insecure, unsigned decisions of the detainees courts, often created long time after the dates of the hearings, could not possibly be considered valid legal records. The detainees ID numbers show suspicious discontinuities and failure to correlate with time of issuance. Media reported the conduct of simulated hearing, and issuance of simulated decision in one of the courts. The Israeli Ministry of Justice refused to answer on Freedom of Information request, pertaining to the names and locations of such courts. The results should raise concerns regarding establishment of ”black hole” prisons and ”field courts”.
Electronic Signature Act (2001): The evidence shows that the Ministry of Justice of the State of Israel has deliberately undermined the implementation and enforcement of the Act over the past decade, and with it, the integrity of legal and financial records of the State of Israel. The Ministry of Justice also refused to produce the appointment record of the current Registrar of Certifying Authorities, if any existed.
The findings hold serious implications relative to local socio-economic trends, banking regulation, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The findings should also require reassessment of any faith and credit, which may be given to legal public records originating in the courts of the State of Israel by other nations, including, but not limited to those, who are parties to the Hague Convention (1961).
The Human Rights Alert submission recommends:
1. The electronic records systems of the courts should be examined, repaired, and validated by Israeli computing and legal experts, under accountability to the legislature.
2. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be established relative to conduct of members of the judiciary and the legal profession, who were involved in undermining the integrity of the systems;
3. No court of any nation should be permitted to develop and implement its own electronic record systems.
Keywords- e-courts; e-government; information systems; logic verification; authentication; digital signatures
View the full report:
 12-05-10 Human Right Alert's 2013 State of Israel UPR Appendix to Submission: Integrity, or lack thereof, in the electronic records of the courts
Similar deficiencies were found in the electronic record systems of the California and US courts
The problem is not unique to the courts of the State of Israel. The same or worse deficiencies were found in the electronic record systems of Los Angeles County, California (Sustain), and the electronic record systems of the US courts from coast to coast (PACER and CM/ECF). Similar or worse deficiencies were found in the electronic record systems of the Los Angeles and Marin County jails.
 10-08-18 Zernik, J: Data Mining as a Civic Duty – Online Public Prisoners’ Registration Systems, International Journal on Social Media: Monitoring, Measurement, Mining 1: 84-96 (2010)
 10-08-18 Zernik, J: Data Mining of Online Judicial Records of the Networked US Federal Courts, International Journal on Social Media: Monitoring, Measurement, Mining, 1:69-83 (2010)
 11-08-01 Zernik, J: Fraud and corruption in the US courts is tightly linked to failing banking regulation and the financial crisis, 16th World Criminology Congress presentation
 09-04-20 Prof Eliyahu Shamir's Opinion Letter re: Sustain - the Case Management System of the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles
09-04-20 Prof Eli Shamir, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, directory information