Pennsylvania boosts security to Justice Network

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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