Banat-Berger Françoise (Service interministériel des archives de France)
The new legal framework for evidence in France: from integrity to authenticity
It seems that the emergence of the digital document in the context of business processes dematerialization and the wide availability of the World Wide Web close what Thomas Pettitt (quoted by Jean Michel Salaun) called the “Gutenberg Parenthesis.”
Fixity and stability of writings produced in a particular context (printing, copyright, science development, setting-up of a documentary classification based on knowledge classification) now give the way to new models that in some respects are connected to old ways of knowing and thinking (unstable tracks, dissolution of the notion of authorship, incessant transformation of information – proliferation of variants, new forms of partnerships between authors and readers, new ways of reading…).
These ongoing transformations have significant impacts on information professions including archival and diplomatic sciences where the process of documenting how a writing was certified lied at the very heart of purposes.
However, since 2000, the legal framework for evidence administration in France has changed: the same evidential value is now given to paper and digital writings under certain conditions (identifying the author, maintaining integrity). This paper aims to present the new legal framework for evidence in France and to consider how the concepts of integrity, authenticity, and reliability including safety and interoperability requirements are built, through the development of laws and regulations since 2000 in key substantive areas of public administration (civil registration, deeds, Justice, Health , human resources management) and general recommendation frameworks developed in the context of urbanization of IT. It is also intended to consider to what extent the lifecycle of the data and the archiving processes have been taken into account.