First paperless trial at London court reiterates the need to be mindful about digital security

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A recent story by The London Evening Standard has reiterated the need to be mindful about security when using digital technologies. The first criminal trial in history to use iPads was hit by teething problems, as a judge nearly read out his password in court.

Tablets were handed out to members of the jury sitting on a three-month fraud trial at Southwark Crown Court, in a bid to reduce the usual vast amounts of paperwork supplied as evidence.

However, mishaps occurred when Judge Michael Gledhill QC almost read out his password aloud to the courtroom as he tried to log on. Laughter ensued as the on-hand IT expert advised the Judge not to disclose his password and received the response: “I don’t see a problem telling everyone what my password is – I trust them.”

Further problems were encountered when the Judge struggled to change the colour scheme from purple to yellow, muttering “Nothing’s popped up on my screen.”

The paperless court case is being piloted as part of a Crown Prosecution Service initiative, representing the increased digitalisation of the judicial process. The first paperless trial took place in Birmingham in 2013, with less than a dozen being held since.

Clearly, the concept of a paper-free court is a very promising one – digitisation and mobile technologies will cut down on paper usage/associated costs and streamline processes dramatically. However, it is becoming clear that new users of mobile technologies need adequate training before entering the court to prevent further mishaps.

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