A standup comedian once said that with the advancement of digital evidence, the police officers solve all their cases sitting inside their offices. Of course, he meant it as a joke but today, after digital evidence has helped in solving numerous cases, its importance is no laughing matter at all. And precisely because it is so important, it needs further development and constant improvement.
What Can Blockchain Do for the Case of Digital Evidence?
A huge dilemma stands before evidence storage. On the one hand are the security concerns, and on the other, citizen awareness and right to information. Blockchain can be used to efficiently store and handle data, making situations compatible for both— providing security as well as transparency.
We have all witnessed in movies the rivalry existing between different investigation agencies. Almost every government in the world has more than one agency. Oftentimes, this rivalry results in stalled progress and confusion. This can further be aggravated by problems in data sharing and file management. However, the data stored on the blockchain can easily and securely be shared between all the stakeholders.
Trust and Security
It is known to all that once a piece of information is stored on a blockchain, it is next to impossible for someone to tamper with it. This becomes more important when the data stored is some kind of evidence. Furthermore, as fake photos and videos become widespread, such a trusted solution is necessary to maintain trust and integrity.
We have all heard of how transparent tracking can be when it is supported by blockchain. This is applicable here as well. For instance, a piece of common physical evidence that is often tracked in investigations is a smartphone. The information that is required is about how interactions were carried on through the device and what its status was when it was handed over. Blockchain can keep a very transparent record of such data which involves an audit trail.
The old oft-repeated phrase ‘we’ve lost the documents’ is a nightmare to any investigation. And we all know how many documents and ‘files’ a single agency handles. Therefore, as in the case of real estate and title deeds, a smart solution for document management is required. Such a solution is blockchain.
Not only documents are rendered immutable on the blockchain, but their handling also becomes easier and less cumbersome. As a result, the efficiency of an investigation also increases.
Countries Accepting Blockchain Evidence
China is one step ahead of other countries. The most populated nation of the world has officially digitized its domestic judicial system. As early as 2018, the Supreme People’s Court of China began accepting blockchain technology for digital evidence storage and authentication in its digital court system. The evidence also needs to have digital signatures and time stamps.
Furthermore, China’s internet courts highlight the positive stance of the country in terms of digital innovation. The parties engaged in a legal dispute are recognized through facial recognition before they appear in the court which is conducted through online video streaming. The process is not only more efficient but also saves a lot of time and money.
Three states in the US— Vermont, Arizona, and Ohio— have introduced laws that allow the use of blockchain records in a court of justice if they have an electronic signature on them. Many startups, as a result, are focusing on creating valuable blockchain solutions for the government and law systems.
A pilot project was announced by the Head of Digital Architecture and Cybersecurity at the UK’s Ministry of Justice. This project seeks to introduce a blockchain evidence system for the country.
Expanse— Bringing Digital Evidence on Blockchain
Blockchain technology has the potential to bring about a positive change not only in fields like finance but also across other platforms. As a lot of countries continue to accept digital evidence in courts, it is important to explore the potential of this technology and role that it can play. Based on Ethereum, Expanse helps you build innovative solutions for everyday problems, and the question of legal evidence is in need of one such solution.