Law in the Internet Society

-- JoseMariaDelajara - 23 Sep 2019

Assuming these officials are acquainted with the matters in which they legislate, I find it odd that they would would enact what seems to be a mere obstacle for the inevitable. Such prohibited analytics exist whether or not we make the effort to crunch them. I also fail to recognize any material breadth of scenarios in which access to this data would be unavailable to the interested. The math is elementary when you have a complete data set, so the cost of calculating these figures for oneself is practically zero.

Furthermore, a meaningful question arises out of the definition of "publish." Intuitively, publishing would appear to preclude even large-scale private sharing. If libraries, academic institutions, corporations, law firms, or someone's grandma are handing out information to whomever has access to their local servers, mass media publications aren't adding meaningful accessibility.

I also don't know why this would be perceived as tenable given jurisdictional limits. Even if the French government could big brother the population out of running a confidence interval, short of broad internet censorship, they wouldn't be able to prevent access to the same basic figures being published by individuals from other countries. It's essentially impossible to prevent access to such non-proprietary information. So long as communication exists, the people who need this data will get it easily.

Lastly, this reeks foul from a free speech perspective. What is the constitutional justification for censoring purely factual information? Painting science/truth as an agent of the wicked was old news in Galileo's time. I don't think this bill is necessarily made in the same bad faith through which other societies have maintained social hierarchies for all of human history, but one cannot help but but scoff in the same vein at the proposal of factual censorship to preserve democracy.

-- AnthonyMahmud - 01 Oct 2019


I am interested to know what the class thinks regarding legal analytics. Do the companies that provide that service should be treated with the same caution as we are now figuring out we must exercise towards Facebook? Are the citizens entitled to know the decision patterns from judges?

A little context might come in handy.Recently, France, a country typically related to freedom, passed a bill imposing up to 5 years in prison for the publication of statistical information about judges' decisions (e.g. judge analytics such as Context by Lexis Nexis).

  • According to the French Justice Reform Act, judge analytics services won't be provided any time soon. Article 33 of the act states the following [translation]:“The identity data of the magistrates and the members of the judiciary m ay not be reused with the purpose or effect of evaluating, analyzing, comparing or predicting their actual or presumed professional practices.”

  • Ironically, this ban is supposed to pursue a more predictable justice ("une justice plus prévisible"). The report specifically states that the ban regulated in article 33 resides upon "a regulation of the algorithms which exploit the data resulting from decisions, in order to ensure a transparency on the methodologies implemented". It also adds that "the profiling of judges and registry officials will also be prohibited so as not to undermine the proper functioning of justice".

  • It seems as if the French Government is aiming to provide (at least part of) the services by themselves [translation]:"The ministry's decision-making information system will evolve to provide effective tools for analysis and management of the activity at the national and local levels. Users will have to be able to access on-line practical information, enriching what is already on the site (accessibility of jurisdictions, pedagogy of procedures, simulators ...), but also, for example, to indicators of procedural delay before the court they intend to refer to or to indicative scales or indicative benchmark"

In my view, judicial analytics organizes otherwise scrambled data. This allows justice users to receive better information about their actual winning probabilities instead of relying on attorneys' advice (tainted by optimism bias). What do you think?


Webs Webs

r2 - 01 Oct 2019 - 18:24:03 - AnthonyMahmud
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