Tuesday, September 14, 2010

10-09-14 From Lasters' Discussion RE: Digital Signatures and PACER & CM/ECF

From: jz
Sent: Sep 14, 2010 7:04 PM
To: lawsters
Subject: Electronic Transactions and Digital Signatures

Dear Bob:

Before getting lost in the technical details of digital signatures, here is a short overview.

There is no doubt that digital technology could have secured court and financial records much better than paper records.  The problem is that both banks and the courts, left on their own, with insufficient public scrutiny, abused the transition from the paper era to the digital era, to undermine the integrity of their records.

Following is Just one example - authentication of court records by the Clerk of the Court:
  • A signature, be it "wet" or digital, is a symbol affixed with the intent to take responsibility.
  • A digital signature, to be valid and effectual, has to be personal, confidential, encrypted, and certified by an independent certification system.
  • Authentication of Court Minutes, Court Orders, and Court Judgments by the Clerk of the Court, was required to make them valid and effectual for any purpose.
In designing and implementing PACER and CM/ECF, all "wet" signatures and stamps of the Clerks of the United States courts were eliminated.  Instead, the courts implemented the NEFs (Notices of Electronic Filings - at the District Courts), and the NDAs (Notices of Docket Activity) at the US Courts of Appeals.

However, review and comparison of the new authentication forms (NEFs, NDAs) to the old, paper based forms of authentication by the clerks, shows most clearly the deliberate invalidity of PACER & CM/ECF on at least the following levels:

1) The paper forms were titled Certificate, or Certification.  The new forms are titled NEFs or NDAs, which in fact are vacuous names, with no relevant significant meaning relative to their purported function.

2) The paper based forms typically opened with a certification statement, similar to the following: 'I, the undersigned, hereby certify...".  The NEFs and NDAs include no certification statement at all.

3) The paper based forms invoked the authority of the clerk of the court in the signature box.  The NEFs and NDAs never invoke the authority of the Clerk of the Court. 

4) The paper based forms identified the person issuing the certification by name, and by authority, as Deputy Clerk of the Court.  The NEFs and NDAs have nothing of that.  Moreover, in a number of cases, it has been documented that the NEFs and NDAs were issued by unautorized persons.

5) The  paper based forms included a stamp and a hand signature of the  the Deputy Clerk, as a sign of intent to take personal responsibility.  The NEFs and NDA replaced the "wet" signature with a "Checksum" string, which they now call "Document Stamp".  However, the Checksum alphanumeric string, encrypted as it is, is not a digital signature, and has no meaning as a "symbol affixed with the intent to take responsibility".

6) Whereas  the paper based certifications by the clerks were integral part of the public records of the court, now the United States courts deny public access to the NEFs and NDAs, by concealing them in CM/ECF, and excluding them from PACER.

In short: The best legal minds in the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, under supervision of the United States judiciary toiled for over a decade at a cost of several billion dollars, and managed to create a convoluted system that entirely circumvented the accountability of the Clerk of the Court for integrity of court records, and undermines the First Amendment right to access court records - to inspect and to copy.  Accordingly, today, the Clerks of the US Courts refuse to certify the PACER dockets, indicating their refusal to take any personal responsibility for their content.

Needless to say, the position of the Clerk of the Court and the "ministerial arm of the court", which was never protected by judicial immunity, were specifically established to safeguard the integrity of the English speaking  courts against judicial corruption.

Otherwise put: In the design and operation of PACER and CM/ECF, the judicial arm of the court severed the ministerial arm of the court, which was supposed to keep the judges in check and prevent their corruption.  With it, PACER dockets, as published online by the courts today, are claimed to be in violation of Federal Rules of Civil Procedures and Federal Rules of Criminal Procedures, relative to duties of the Clerks of the Courts in constructing court dockets.

It is further alleged, that there could not possibly be a United States judge in his/her wits, who is not aware of the facts listed above.  Therefore, it was proposed that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was required.  The United States judiciary, as a class failed to comply with the law relative to Code of Conduct of United States Judges, and alert the public against such fraud in the PACER & CM/ECF.

Joseph Zernik
-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Hurt
Sent: Sep 14, 2010 6:28 PM
To: lawsters
Subject: RE: Electronic Transactions and Digital Signatures

The security certificate causes an associated signed document to become encrypted so nobody can change it, particularly if you use Adobe Acrobat Pro or Reader.

Bob Hurthttp://bobhurt.com – 727 669 5511
2460 Persian Drive #70, Clearwater, Florida 33763 USA
From: lawsters@googlegroups.com [mailto:lawsters@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Larry Becraft
Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2010 8:26 PM
To: lawsters@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: Electronic Transactions and Digital Signatures

Presently, I find electronic filing lots better than paper. With paper, you had to review it for printing, print it, sign, make copies and mail:  a lot of work if lots of paper. Lots is eliminated with electronic filing;  I simply review for appearance, then e-mail and everybody is served.  NO need for copies and lots quicker.

But, I can envision huge problems in the future because electronic files can be changed. Presently with history recorded in paper, and collected in libraries, it is impossible to change history, law, events, etc. But when everybody is dependent on something posted electronically, history, laws and events can be changed. Electronically, history, laws and events can be changed. Who knows: in the future, the War of Northern Aggression may vanish, the Revolution may disappear, etc. So may decisions in cases, old laws, and those protecting our rights. In the wrong hands, the world may be changed.


Bob Hurt wrote:
Let’s discuss

Electronic Transactions and Digital Signatures.

Most all states have enacted laws (see below) that allow you to create electronic transactions and sign documents digitally.  In order to sign digitally, you must have a personal security certificate.  The certificate consists of a long number that functions as an encryption key (like a password).  The issuing authority creates the certificate key based on your name and email address.

You may purchase a personal certificate or create your own.  You may buy a certificate from Verisign, Microsoft, Thawte, Comodo, and numerous other companies.  Or you may obtain PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) or GPG (a public domain equivalent) and use the software to create your own certificate.

Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org, and Adobe Acrobat (Reader and Pro) allow you to sign a document electronically with your personal security certificate.  Governments throughout the USA accept digitally or electronically signed documents as valid documents to use in court.  However, because so few people actually use them, you sometimes have to badger “authorities” (public servants) to accept them.  For example, Court rules require pleadings in paper form with physical ink signatures on them.  Federal courts have an Electronic Filing System, but they allow onloy attorneys to use it for filing documents electronically.  No easy way exists to force a court clerk to accept your electronic filing, so you need to apply political pressure to get legislators to make constitutional changes that force courts into the computer age.
My advice to you:

Read the attached Uniform Electronic Transactions Act.  Most states have adopted it.
Get your own personal security certificate.  See the suggestions below for free options.
Use the certificate as appropriate to sign documents digitally and encrypt your sensitive email. 
Start coercing everyone to accept your digitally signed documents as “Proven authentic.”
Pound on the courts through political process to enable everyone to file documents with the court electronically and to make all court documents available free on the internet.

Note:  as a notary public, I can notarize your documents digitally/electronically.  See this Florida statute:
117.021 Electronic notarization.
(1) Any document requiring notarization may be notarized electronically. The provisions of ss.117.01, 117.03, 117.04, 117.05(1)-(11), (13), and (14), 117.105, and 117.107 apply to all notarizations under this section.
(2) In performing an electronic notarial act, a notary public shall use an electronic signature that is:
(a) Unique to the notary public;
(b) Capable of independent verification;
(c) Retained under the notary public’s sole control; and
(d) Attached to or logically associated with the electronic document in a manner that any subsequent alteration to the electronic document displays evidence of the alteration.
(3) When a signature is required to be accompanied by a notary public seal, the requirement is satisfied when the electronic signature of the notary public contains all of the following seal information:
(a) The full name of the notary public exactly as provided on the notary public’s application for commission;
(b) The words “Notary Public State of Florida”;
(c) The date of expiration of the commission of the notary public; and
(d) The notary public’s commission number.
(4) Failure of a notary public to comply with any of the requirements of this section may constitute grounds for suspension of the notary public’s commission by the Executive Office of the Governor.
(5) The Department of State may adopt rules to ensure the security, reliability, and uniformity of signatures and seals authorized in this section.