streamWrite Blog

News, events and useful information

Court Tools to Assist Jurors with Jury Process Changes

With Covid-19 cases remaining high into 2021 and slower-than-expected vaccine distribution,  Government agencies continue to take measures to ensure public safety, and Court jury process is has been no exception. 

 Jury managers have made and continue to make adjustments to the jury process.  Among those changes have been updated instructions on: 

1) When to report  - smaller jury groups mean jurors may be on call for a greater number of days.

2) Where to report - the need for social distancing has led to multiple jury assembly areas, whether within at the same building, among multiple government offices/courthouses, and in some cases,  non-government locations.  

 In addition, measures are being often being taken to screen jurors in advance of their service date, as well as allow deferral of service for jurors that are  experiencing Covid symptoms.  This is often handled through pre-service questionnaires.  

streamWrite Portals for Justice offers jury services communication channels such as:

  • IVR - Interactive Voice Response
  • IWR - Interactive Web Response
  • ITR -Interative Text Response

ATI has been working with Court jury staff as well as jury management systems vendors like JSI to implement questionnaires, add new locations, implement custom messages, and outbound reminders, so jurors can obtain instructions specific to their individual or group's status.  

If your Court is seeking ways to efficiently streamline the jury process or improve the juror experience, we are here to help.  

Although budgets will continue to be a challenge, many Courts have been able to make adjustments to their jury process at little or no cost.  For Courts seeking additional capabilities such as ITR or Jury reminders, grant funding may be available; in California, the grant application window is open until January 19, 2021.  

Why aren't NIST password guidelines being adopted?

I have for many years felt that complex password guidelines, combined with regular expiration dates, creates a recipe for weakened rather than strengthened security. We've all had to deal with it: passwords must be 8 or more characters and contain at least one of each of the following: lower case letter, upper case letter, number, special character, something like this: Xtrain99#. In addition, you have to change this every sixty days and cannot reuse prior passwords.

Now multiply this by differing rules implemented by many of the different systems you use on a regular basis, and you end up recording all of these passwords somewhere, hopefully not on a sticky note attached to your computer.

Unfortunately, I felt like I was swimming upstream in a deluge of password complexity that would never let up.

VINDICATION:

Enter new guidelines from the NIST, National Institute of Standards and Technology, a department of the U.S. Department Commerce, swapping out prior guidelines for new simpler, more sensible ones and I started to feel vindicated: 

  • Passwords should never expire
  • No complexity or variety rules
  • Minimum length of 8 characters
  • Maximum length of 64 characters

And some additional recommendations such as NOT having any hints (questions like where did you go to high school and what was the name of your first parakeet), only enforcing  password changes when it is forgotten or a potential breach is discovered and checking against lists of known bad passwords...

Yes I started to feel like some sanity on passwords was coming to light. I did not expect these changes, officially adopted in 2017, to hit the mainstream immediately, but nor did I expect that three years on, there would be almost no sign of widespread adoption.

Bill Burr, the employee at NIST who initially wrote the complexity guidelines came forth that they actually had no real experiences to draw from, and just did what they thought was right at the time. Ultimately he recanted the guidelines in favor of the newer policies: Wall Street Journal New Password Tip: N3v$r M1^d!

Gizmodo sums it up nicely with this graphic from their article on the subject, Gizmodo, Inventor of Password Rules Regrets Wasting Your Time.

correct horse battery staple

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS:

But, none of this answers my original question. Why we are still being forced to use the outdated guidelines when they have been completely debunked and new more realistic guidelines have been put forth?

I'll keep waiting and hoping for the day when I know longer have to maintain a password protected list of over 400 credentials along with answers to random security questions about parakeets.

Assistance for Customers Impacted by Coronavirus

Organizations and enterprises of all types and sizes continue to monitor coronavirus, and are determining ways to minimize risk and contain the spread of new cases.  Whether it's schools shifting to online classes, factory closures, or work-for-home options made possible via collaboration and communications technologies, this is an unprecedented moment. It quite possibly will re-shape the ways organizations operate, or at least how they respond to future pandemics. 

At ATI-streamWrite we want to do our part to help.  Portals/IVR customers, remember you have an emergency message that can be used for the very purpose of notifying inbound callers of operations changes.  When recording an emergency message and turning it on, it is the first thing callers will hear.  Here is an example of an emergency message a Court might employ for jurors calling in regarding jury service.  "You have reached Gotham Superior Court.  If you are summoned for jury service and are experiencing any acute respiratory illness symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, headaches, flu-like symptoms, have a fever, or are coughing or sneezing, please do not report for jury service.  Instead, request a postponement using our automated system, or contact the Jury Office to reschedule your service to a later date." 

Portals Communications may be a valuable tool that can be used to conduct outreach to notify customers of important updates.   

For existing customers using VCourt for remote appearances that need to expand capacity, a conference burst agreement is a fast way to accommodate your needs.  We can very quickly provision new customers of any type for conferencing capabilities or Portals Communications.  Please contact the support desk or your account manager at 800-333-8394 and we will do our best to assist.

New Law Re: Robocalls, the TRACED Act signed into law....

The Senate has passed the TRACED Act (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence) requiring telephone carriers to update technologies and practices around robocalling.

FCC enforcement provisions of the act include:

  • Extension to the statute of limitations from one to four years for robocall violations
  • Penalties of up to $10,000 per call (yes you read that right)
  • An inter-agency task force between the FTC, Department of Justice, State Dept, Homeland Security, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and State Attorneys General
  • Requires implementation of STIR/SHAKEN technology to prevent call spoofing

The President signed the act into law December 30th 2019 with wide bi-partisan support.

What Exactly is a Chatbot, and Why Should I Care?

Across many industries, Artificial Intelligence is changing the way people access information, and redefining the way organizations and enterprises service their customers.  An effectively implemented chatbot will provide an improved customer experience and make employees happier, too.  

What exactly is a chatbot?  Simply put, a chatbot is artificial intelligence software that can simulate a conversation through multiple communication methods, including phone, websites, and messaging applications. 

Chatbots must be able to correctly analyze the understand request from the user, identify the intent, and then extract data and compose a reply.  Some examples include:

  • a generic, pre-defined response (“Hello, How can I help you today?”) 
  • information retrieved from a knowledge base ("Our office hours are Monday-Friday 9 am to 5 pm")
  • a response based on data the user has provided (“You are excused from jury service next week”)
  • a disambiguating question that helps to better understand what the user is requesting. ("Are you looking for the address for North County or South County?")

So why should you care?  When effectively implemented, Chatbots are an opportunity improve an organization in a number of areas: 

  • Streamline interactions 
  • Improve customer experience
  • Improve operational efficiency 
  • Improve employee satisfaction by removing mundane tasks and providing more meaningful assistance.   

Does this mean that chatbots will replace customer service personnel?  No - chatbots are intended to supplement the service that live agents provide, to reduce mundane tasks and provide convenience.  There are times when customer service representatives are essential to resolving needs.  

With over 25 years of experience in self-service automation, contact center solutions, and focus on state and local government, ATI can be a valuable part of your organization's digital transformation strategy.  Contact us today to learn more at sales@ati-connect.com