Journal of Law, Information and Science
The special focus for this issue of the Journal is in the area of public law. We start with Jon Bing's vision regarding the development of computer law over the next ten years. Bing chronicles the development of expert systems applications to the law and focuses particularly on the informatics of public administration.
One of the three major trends in computer law highlighted by Bing is the need for impact studies within different areas of the law which are strained under pressure of new technology. Concerning that development, Abdul Paliwala raises many thought-provoking concerns regarding the "possibilities and problems" which new technology brings to human relationships in different societal contexts.
The second major development in computers and law, according to Bing, is in the area of expert systems and public administration. The article by Einerhand and Svensson presents an excellent illustration of the potential of computers and law in this area as they describe the development and testing of their expert system, ExpertiSZe, and its use in the microsimulation of social security policy making.
The third major trend mentioned by Bing is a greater emphasis on the relationship between knowledge-based systems and legal philosophy or jurisprudence. This relationship, which has already been the focus of previous issues of this journal, is once again the subject of debate as Hunter, Tyree and Zeleznikow respond to arguments raised by Moles and Dayal. We have held over until the next edition a further article by Moles and Dayal on the problems of implementation. We would also like to welcome Bob Moles as a new member of our our Editorial Board and to thank him for the contribution he has already made and continues to make.
Another major subdivision of public law is criminal law and three articles examine the area of security and the laws governing hacking. Deidre Black surveys the changing image of hackers over time and in different countries and contrasts the legislative approaches adopted in various countries. In contrast to Black's sociological analysis, Andrew Charlesworth focuses on a recent case involving the successful claim of addiction to hacking as a defence to the UK Computer Misuse Act 1990. Finally, Jennifer Hallinan takes a very practical and preventative approach to computer security and examines the categories of computer user, the importance of psychological factors related to computer use and the role of security and user education policy formation.
This issue also features two important articles in the area of intellectual property law and computers. John Swinson considers the implications of recent US decisions which now enable most software patent inventions to be protected by patent. Anne Fitzgerald analyses recent US cases which have considered the extent to which copyright protection is afforded to the non-literal elements of a program, such as its structure, and how far reverse engineering of a computer program will be permitted.
Continuing the trend of earlier issues which highlight recent developments concerning computers and legal education, Alan Tyree and Shirley Rawson describe CRES, a new and simple form of computer tutorial which offers significant advantages over more limited "multiple-choice" type computer assisted legal instruction programs.
In addition to the articles, this issue also features Notes, News and Conference Reports from Europe, Australia, the UK and North America as well as book reviews of recent publications.
Finally, we would like to acknowledge the continued support and encouragement from our excellent Editorial Board led by the Hon. Justice Michael Kirby.