Secure ICT-solution for cross-border exchange of sensitive data in the Judiciary
ICT solutions for cross-border exchange of sensitive data in the Judiciary provided by e-CODEX deal with different issues such as secure and reliable cross-border transfer of documents and data or an interoperability layer for e-Signatures to ensure common validation. In order to guarantee a flexible and sustainable applicability, the developed components are provided in the form of individual building blocks. In doing so, already existing national solutions are respected. Implementing the technical components, e-CODEX reverts to internationally accepted standards like AS4, a specification of OASIS ebMS3.0. The developed solutions are provided to Member States, Associated Countries and everyone interested through “JoinUp”, a platform of the European Commission. As the technical components are open source, they can be used, advanced and linked to national systems. e-CODEX components are picked up Connecting Europe Facility Programme to be further developed and maintained. As a result, Member States, legal professionals and standards bodies in e-CODEX are jointly realizing instruments which can support any kind of cross border legal procedure, from both civil and criminal law.
ICT solutions e-CODEX provides solutions that enable:
• interoperability between national applications in different EU Member States and Associated Countries without imposing changes to their national architecture.
• secure cross-border electronic communication between e-Justice applications through legally proved signature verification.
• secure and reliable cross-border routing and transportation of documents and data.
• the handling of documents and metadata for cross-border judicial procedures without changing existing national standards.
e-CODEX defined a solution to interconnect different e-Delivery systems in Europe. The basic concept is to interconnect the national systems by using an industry standard (ebMS 3.0) for this electronic communication and by establishing at least one gateway per country as a receiving point. The output of the e-CODEX e-Delivery work package is a conception of this gateway obeying the underlying standards. This also includes a basic model of the gateway which is used as part of the pilot implementation.
The e-CODEX e-Delivery building block is based on inter-gateway communication as well as a common framework with a connector working as binding element to the national transport solutions (as depicted in the graphic). The gateway is based on the open source software “Holodeck”, an ebMS-based b2b messaging software according to the e-Delivery concept. Holodeck has been extended to fit the needs of e-CODEX and e-Delivery convergence needs by providing both the DOMIBUS (DOMain Interoperability BUS) gateway and the DOMIBUS connector Framework. The connector Framework is intended to map the proprietary national formats to the widely used ebMS-based standard transport format used between the gateways. Through this, e-CODEX ensures that the interconnection impacts the national systems as little as possible and that the Connector framework implementation has a common software base for all partners.
e-Delivery for cross-border e-Justice improves the efficiency of multi-lateral proceedings by supporting the electronic exchange of documents and data. The e-Delivery Convergence concept of e-CODEX is continued by the CIPA (Common Infrastructure for Public Administrations Sustainability) and the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
Security and Trust
e-CODEX enables secure electronic communication and information exchange between existing national solutions through a common validation tool. The main benefits are increased security and reliability along with a reduction in time for completing cross-border processes. Using existing systems for the authentication of users adds reliability to electronic legal proceedings and helps to avoid malicious use of e-Justice services. The solution for verification of signatures makes it possible to recognise a person’s electronic signature using a certificate issued in their home country.
Since the purpose of e-CODEX is not to change existing solutions or laws in the participating countries, it was necessary to introduce an agreement for a “Circle of Trust”. This means that participating countries accept what is legally valid in other participating Member States for the content of the documents, and information on identity and signatures. Because there are solutions where a document can be legally valid even without a signature attached to it, a definition of an advanced electronic system was needed.
This system corresponds to the requirements of a qualified signature:
- Documents have to be uniquely linked to a user.
- The system has to be able to identify the user.
- The user has to have full control and any change has to be detectable.
One important component of the e-CODEX infrastructure is the DOMIBUS connector. It provides the link between the advanced electronic system and the e-CODEX DOMIBUS gateway (see graphic). Among other things, it shows that it trusts the source, message and information it received by issuing a “Trust OK”-Token which supports the idea of the agreement on a Circle of Trust. It evaluates a trust level according to the information provided or the validation results. This validation report is regularly generated by e-CODEX. For authentication-based systems, e-CODEX requires information on the identity provider and the user.
- ETSI REM
This standard has been used for defining the evidences, their structure and the workflow behind. It can be found under http://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_ts/102600_102699/10264001/02.02.01_60/ts_10264001v020201p.pdf.
This standard defines the message protocol used for the exchange of messages and the low level acknowledgement of receipts. It also describes any redelivery in case of failure (AS4). It is an industrial standard defined by OASIS and implemented by well-known vendors such as IBM, etc. The standard can be found under http://docs.oasis-open.org/ebxml-msg/ebms/v3.0/profiles/AS4-profile/v1.0/os/AS4-profile-v1.0-os.html.
- Web Service Standards (SOAP)
The ebMS3 standard itself is based on Web Services. E-CODEX is using main Web Service standards such as SOAP for example. These standards can be found under http://www.w3.org/2002/ws/ .
This standard is published by the United Nations and defines a document structure. E-CODEX is using only a small subset of this standard in order to define main document properties such as sender receiver, date, type of document and so on. It can be found under http://www.gs1.org/docs/gs1_un-cefact_%20xml_%20profiles/CEFACT_SBDH_TS_version1.3.pdf .
- OASIS BDX
This is an Oasis standard for document exchange. It can be found under