In recent years, much of the Blockchain development has been carried out by the private sector, but we are at a time when more and more governments are interested in exploring this technology, especially in the area of criminal proceedings. And as digital evidence becomes more important, authorities must ensure that the mechanisms used to verify the integrity of the evidence are kept up-to-date.
Now, if we consider a future where each detective carries a high-quality camera to record evidence, the plan could be translated into a quadrillion bytes that should be stored, cataloged and made recoverable. In short, maintaining confidence in the integrity of information is a more complex problem than it seems.
This is where the chain of blocks could help enormously, because it is enough to imagine that each detective connects his video camera to a device that divides the material recorded in small pieces and loads each one in a cloud service, which provides controlled access, record the metadata of each clip – what device it came from, where and when it was filmed … – and calculate its respective hash – a mathematical function that generates a single value of small size.
In fact, in the United Kingdom, one of the officials of the Ministry of Justice, Alistair Davidson, has published a publication in which he states that the Blockchain technology could help the authorities to verify the digital evidence in numerous investigations … specifically, to the creation of deteriorated image registers.
Although the case raised by Davidson is hypothetical, it is an interesting exploration of how some public sector entities could benefit from the blockchain. The official said that this technology could be very useful in the courts, especially to determine the authenticity of videos and photographs.
In Davidson’s words:
“The properties of the Blockchain could play a key role in situations that do not fully reflect the confidence of the government public.”
It should be noted that the blockchain is not a technology that stores video, but one that could well contain a summary of this data and metadata, as well as location lists within government storage areas. According to Davidson: “If the videos are uploaded to the cloud, the Blockchain could be read by anyone, anywhere, but only written by the police department.”