A recent article published in Slate.com by Rebecca Wexler, a fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project and visiting scholar at Berkeley School of Law’s Human Rights Center, highlights a real problem – the inability to test the efficacy of software that makes predictions which are then presented to a jury largely unchallenged. As pointed out in the article, these inaccessible software codes are used in a variety of criminal prosecutions ranging from blood alcohol level calculations based on the analysis of breath samples to DNA analysis in more serious cases.
As we have seen in the case of Volkswagen, it is far from inconceivable that a company would tamper with its software in order to achieve a desired result. If we are to allow companies to present to juries the result of their software applications, every aspect of those applications should be subject to scrutiny. The notion that corrupting the criminal justice system by limiting an accused citizen’s ability to challenge the veracity of critical evidence in order to the protect profits of a software developer is repugnant — particularly since courts have the authority to allow disclosure with strict boundaries on the use and dissemination of the information.
Given that technology will only become a more frequently used tool in criminal prosecutions, we urge Florida’s courts and legislature to remedy this dangerous trend – all evidence presented to a jury must be allowed to be fully vetted and challenged.
Link to the Slate.com article:
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