Pennsylvania Boosts Security to Justice Network

WASHINGTON (06/27/2000) - Pennsylvania has signed another contract with VeriSign Inc. to provide additional security to the state's Justice Network (JNET), which compiles public safety information from various agencies and places it on a secure Internet site.

JNET allows various criminal justice agencies to maintain their information systems individually. Information is then collected, put into a uniform format and transferred to a World Wide Web site where approved people can access the information.

Scott Elliott, spokesperson for the Governor's Office of Administration, said the network is crucial to the criminal justice system because it allows complete integration of public safety information.

The five basic information systems included in the network are those of the state police, Department of Corrections, Department of Transportation (DOT), Board of Probation and Parole, and Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts.

"Before, each group would have to re-input information, and it would be a waste of time and resources," Elliott said. For example, after someone is arrested, the police officer enters the information into the system, and then the court administrators have to enter it again during a trial.

The system now allows more than 200 people to log in - using digital certificates to ensure security - and gather all the necessary information from one source.

The new contract is part of the second phase of the network, which includes increasing the number of people who can access the site and adding new capabilities, such as digital mug shots, access to DOT photo images and drivers' license data, and live posting of court dispositions.

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