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Alison Knight Poster Industry Forum 2013 Latest

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LEGAL ASPECTS OF DIGITAL IDENTITYAlison Knight, Steve Saxby, Mark Weal University of [email protected]

ProblemWe manage a spectrum of identities across the cyber domain. Digital identity is valuable and increasingly important, as are online methods of identification. For example, trusted identities linked to electronic credentials underpin ecommerce. Government also needs to be able to identity citizens and deliver online services efficiently without fraud. Along with new opportunities, risks of online identity misuse are increasing. Yet, while the identification of persons responsible for the commission of criminal behaviour remains the nexus of justice systems throughout the modern world, the Web poses a number of challenges to cyber identification.

AimsLegal frameworks are being developed in response to the problem of online identity misuse. One challenge relates to how digital identity can be assured in a trustworthy manner. Reliable means of identification are fundamental. Mistaken identities have implications for personal privacy, information safety and criminal accountability.

ProposalFirst, legal rules will be considered around procedural safeguards in the acquisition, preservation and analysis of digital identification evidence to protect its integrity. In doing so, prosecutors can ensure that otherwise admissible electronic evidence is not compromised legally because the evidentiary foundation was not properly laid during trial. Second, research will be carried out into the treatment of digital identification evidence in court worldwide. This will include how it conforms to legal rules. A review of case law will be conducted into how cyber metrics and new digital biometrics have been evaluated in terms of reliability and authenticity for identification purposes.

Questions How do appropriate identification procedures in the offline world apply to the online world? When are cyber metrics strong enough under a criminal legal standard to prove identification? What due process rights and responsibilities to ensure a fair trial and safety of conviction are required to safeguard against possibilities of wrongful conviction or accusation based on digital identifiers?

OutputsThe research will compare the legal treatment of different measures of identity across offline and online spaces to ascertain both the confidence with which cyber metrics are treated generally by the courts and how reliability may vary according to context. The research will assist in increasing trust in digital identity assurance to help underpin more sophisticated identity decisions. It will also determine whether new safeguards and protocols are required to provide additional protection to citizens against vulnerabilities in online identification processes, such as forensic profiling, thereby minimising risk and liability.

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