Blockchain continues to find new kinds of usage and adoptions with each passing day. While secure storage of any format of data has been tried and tested time and again on blockchain technology, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Justice is possibly the first government authority to pilot a blockchain-based project in a bid to secure digital evidences. (See also: Blockchain App Helps Indigent Defendants Make Bail.)
DLT to Handle & Store Evidence
The initiative was announced in a blogpost by the Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) portal by Balaji Anbil, the head of digital architecture and cybersecurity at the UK's Ministry of Justice. The pilot project aims to assess whether the distributed ledger technology (DLT) can be utilized to simplify and streamline the present-day court processes with focus on securely handling digital evidence. The working group constituted to lead the project has already conducted the inaugural meeting and is actively working with industry experts.
Describing the DLT-based initiative as a part of the larger court reforms program, Anbil states that the project envisages “the application of novel solutions to traditional challenges including evidence sharing, identity management and ensuring citizens have maximum control over their own information. Our service designs are focused on value, simplicity and use of the best modern technology approaches. This brings numerous benefits including cost effective and timely delivery and future proof solutions.”
Order in the Court
Citing the practical issues and challenges faced in managing evidence, the working group is looking for a system that is capable of maintaining the records of all system activities that capture how various forms of digital evidences get created, accessed or modified, by which entity or participant and from which location. The records need to be maintained in a chronological order in a way that can easily enable the reconstruction and verification of the sequence of events and actions, which can lead to and certify the current state of the digital evidence. A suitable DLT technology with its intrinsic feature of maintaining a well defined audit trail fits the bill. It can be the crucial platform that can guarantee the integrity of evidence in its secure handling, storage and retrieval.
The project is actively following work done in similar domains, both in academia and in other regional implementations. Researchers at Britain's University of Surrey are attempting to secure the digital archives of the UK’s National Archives on a DLT system while Estonia has built an innovative, blockchain-based solution for citizen identity management. (See also: Estonia Is Pushing for State-Backed Cryptocurrency.)
These projects will provide crucial pointers to develop the required model, and a trial of DLT solutions for interagency evidence sharing is planned for later this year. (See also: Blockchain Technology May Replace Travel ID.)