Seminar eyes judicial application of electronic data

Source:Chinese Social Sciences Today 2024-02-09

Law books displayed at a bookstore in Beijing Photo: Yang Lanlan/CSST

The First Seminar on the Judicial Applications and Theoretical Frontiers of Electronic Data took place in Beijing in early January. Scholars exchanged views on the evidential value, technical methods, cross-examination and review, and practical application of electronic data, contributing academic principles to the application of electronic data in the judicial field.

Function of evidence

When electronic data is at issue, how do we determine whether it will be crucial to a verdict? According to Chen Kai, a research fellow from the Institute of Information Engineering at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), when digital signatures serve as evidence, security vulnerabilities can be exploited to modify the signed content. The unreliability of electronic images as evidence lies in the multiple ways images can be falsified, the rapid iteration of techniques, and the difficulty of detection.

“Unscientific identification technology, unreasonable occupational classification, and non-uniform identification standards, all will eventually lead to the willful identification of electronic data, bringing the scientific nature of electronic data as evidence under question,” said Guo Hua, a professor from the Law School at the Central University of Finance and Economics.

The credibility of the life cycle of electronic data is associated with the whole process of data acquisition, analysis, and disposal. Chen Long, a professor from the School of Cyber Security and Information Law at Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications, suggested establishing a total factor quality assurance system to encompass the links of identification methods, the disposal of materials for examination, and management system requirements.

The legal community is confronting the rise of artificial intelligence and machine evidence. Liu Pinxin, a professor from the Law School at Renmin University of China (RUC), said that current legal provisions pertinent to electronic evidence should be iteratively upgraded, and a “new electronic evidence law” should be built based on the latest electronic evidence patterns.

Li Xuejun, a professor from the Law School at RUC, proceeded from the perspective of discipline construction and highlighted the necessity of building “evidence technology” upon the cross-disciplinary integration of “evidence” and “technology.”

Regarding the cultivation of digital talent, Wang Jinxi, a professor from the School of Law at China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL), believes that legal education should not be limited to the mere provision of legal knowledge. Instead, there should be an emphasis on cultivating “legal talent who is conversant with technology,” integrating science and technology into the curriculum of legal education and investigative fields, equipping students with the skills necessary for scrutinizing evidence beyond the courtroom.

He Deyin, deputy director of the Procuratorial Technology and Information Research Center of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP), believes that the future development of digital evidence and digital technology should be integrated with blockchain technology. This integration would involve the development of evidence collection equipment to address the challenges posed by artificial intelligence to electronic data forensic activities.

Frontier exploration

Liao Xin, a professor from the College of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at Hunan University, expressed concerns about the impact of AI forgery on electronic data forensics, which emphasizes the originality, authenticity, and usability of data.

Pei Wei, a professor from the Law School at Beihang University, suggested carrying out categorized design when applying traditional forensic measures to electronic data, while considering the issue of user data protection by third-party companies. It is necessary to establish an internally consistent rule system and promote international dialogue on the governance of cybercrime.

Wu Hongqi, a research fellow from Peking University Law School, believes it is essential to shift the focus to other attributes of electronic data, such as its legitimacy, in order to delineate the reasonable boundaries of its technological applications.

Presently, the smart car industry is facing risks of privacy leaks and other data management violations, noted Ding Liping, a research fellow from the Institute of Software at CAS. In the process of electronic data forensics, it is necessary to assist enterprises in ensuring data compliance by classifying and grading data in accordance with its importance, ensuring compliance management of the entire life cycle of internal data from generation to destruction, and improving the overall ecological solutions for data compliance in cyberspace.

Concerning the growing trend of criminal cases involving virtual currency, Hu Dewei, director of the research office of investigation science of the School of Public Security at Northwest University of Political Science and Law, called for efforts to standardize electronic data forensics, formulate and refine targeted forensic standards, and manage the internet and blockchain platforms. “We need to keep a watchful eye on the status identification of investigation agencies and technology companies in the process of electronic data forensics, and be alert to the legal risks caused by the ultra vires of technology companies,” Hu added. Additionally, evidence perpetuation technologies need to leverage the standardized and efficient application of blockchain technology.

The conference was co-sponsored by the School of Criminal Justice at CUPL, the electronic evidence laboratory of the Procuratorial Technology and Information Research Center at SPP, Journal of National Prosecutors College, and the Institute of Information Engineering at CAS.

Editor:Yu Hui

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