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Justice and Law Enforcement: Vulnerability of the Computer Society

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Citation Edit

General Accounting Office, Justice and Law Enforcement: Vulnerability of the Computer Society (Nov. 2, 1976).

Overview Edit

The problems to society of increased computerization of information were presented. A paper by the Swedish Minister of Defense cited studies that showed the common occurrence of errors in data processing, intentional manipulation of computers, and the fact that manipulation is generally discovered only by chance.

GAO has reported the use of computers for unreviewed payments of billions of dollars involving an unknown quantity of errors. An investigation at Federal agencies revealed that automated systems were used to determine shipping, repairs, payments, and other transactions without any manual checks. Errors amounting to millions of dollars were caused by erroneous data entries, poor system design, and lack of controls.

A GAO report on computer-related crimes revealed 69 cases of which very few were discovered by system controls. OMB should require agencies to determine the existence of automated decision making, review resulting erroneous actions and correct them, insure that new systems include proper review and testing, and report on actions taken.

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