Utah Provides Authentication of Administrative Rules Publications

Mike Broschinsky Public News, Publications, Rulemaking, Uncategorized

The Division of Administrative Rules is pleased to announce the addition of file authentication to its website. In March 2007, the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) issued a 254-page report that analyzes the “trustworthiness” of state-level primary legal resources on the Web. “The comprehensive report examines the results of a state survey that investigated whether government-hosted legal resources on the Web are official and capable of being considered authentic.” (http://www.aallnet.org/aallwash/authenreport.html, accessed 9/14/2007) An electronic copy of the report is available from AALL at the Internet address referenced above. The report gave Utah high marks for providing official legal resources over the web. The electronic copy of the Utah State Bulletin and Utah Administrative Code have been the official publications since 2003 when funding was redirected from the paper publications. However, the report noted that no state provided means to authenticate these resources. As a step toward addressing the issue of authentication raised by the AALL report, Utah’s Division of Administrative Rules has added Message-Digest algorithm 5 (MD5) authentication to publication files. An MD5 hash is, in essence, a signature for a file. A user can confirm the integrity of a specific file the user downloads by comparing the MD5 hash provided by the Division with one that the user generates. Various software packages are available, many at no cost, that permit individuals to generate an MD5 hash. Programs like MD5Summer (http://www.md5summer.org/, graphical user interface), winMD5Sum (http://www.nullriver.com/index/products/winmd5sum, graphical user interface), MD5SUMS (http://www.pc-tools.net/win32/md5sums/, no graphical user interface), or File Checksum Integrity Verifier (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/841290, no graphical user interface) permit a user to generate his or her own hash. If the hashes do not match exactly, then the integrity of the file is in question. More information about MD5 is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MD5. The Division provides an MD5 hash for the Utah State Bulletin, Utah State Digest, Utah Administrative Code and update files, and Utah Administrative Rules Index of Changes in PDF, RTF, TXT and ZIP formats. All are available from http://www.rules.utah.gov/. UPDATE:  The AALL report is now available at http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/authen_rprt/authenfinalreport.pdf.