Blockchain is a relatively new technology, a type of distributed ledger, which ensures the integrity and immutability of the stored data. It is thanks to its distributed architecture and the level of information security it provides that there is also a demand outside of just financial and technological realms.
In today’s article, we’ll talk about how blockchain is used by law enforcement agencies and helps improve security performance.
Protection of intellectual property
According to a 2018 BSA GLOBAL SOFTWARE SURVEY, 37% of software installed on PCs is unlicensed. In March 2020 alone, the number of visits to websites with unlicensed content in the United States amounted to more than 1.1 billion. The total number of conversions to pirated sites throughout the world, according to an analysis carried out by Muso in 2018, was about 300 billion.
One of the main tools to combat piracy is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) adopted in the US back in 1998. According to this law, every Internet company is required to remove such content and associated links from the network in the event of copyright infringement. This approach is quite costly since copyright holders need to search the network for sites accommodating stolen content and apply for its removal. Therefore, the question of a more effective method to combat piracy arose.
The use of blockchain technology can accelerate the search for sites containing pirated content. For example, the StopTheFakes.io platform uses the blockchain to issue rewards in the form of tokens to search for illegally distributed content. This approach increases the speed of finding sites that violate the rights of content owners.
In 2018, the DishNetwork platform filed a patent for using the blockchain to enter the copyright holders’ data. Only content owners can download and update the information. Copyright holders can sell intellectual property, and the platform itself is designed to enter information about the owner, and track content used without permission.
The Ascribe service provides the ability to register intellectual property rights, as well as buy and sell the right to use it. Blockchain is used to track and host registered files, while timestamps help register work. The latter serves as proof that some data existed before a certain point in time. The service is suitable for artists, designers, photographers, and sculptors.
We have given only a few examples of the implementation of this technology, but the number of platforms aimed at protecting intellectual property is in the dozens, which indicates a high demand and efficiency of distributed ledger technology. Blockchain can help solve the problem of piracy in such spheres as film and photo industry, music and games industry, software, journalism, and other kinds of creative activity.
Blockchain and video surveillance systems
The video surveillance industry is about providing security of certain objects and sites and a system for monitoring and controlling various processes. Naming the total number of security cameras installed worldwide is deemed impossible, yet it is clear that China is the leader in terms of their number. Eight out of the top ten cities in terms of surveillance camera density are located in China. And there are 168 cameras for every 1000 people in Chongqing.
The main problems faced by the video surveillance market are:
1. Huge amounts of data. The video stream from all the cameras must be processed and stored. There were attempts to solve the problem using cloud storage, but this did not bring the desired results.
2. Building sufficient systems. Video surveillance is used in various spheres, home use, and public/private companies. Specific software and resources are needed to build unified surveillance systems.
Blockchain, as a distributed system, can solve the problem of data storage and processing. That is why the technology has found its application in the development of solutions in the field of video surveillance. And its application, together with AI, makes it possible to create a smart system for face recognition and video stream analysis. Cloud computing and mining principles are used to process and analyze video data faster in real-time. The use of smart contracts will allow for more flexible payment methods.
Building unified video surveillance systems using blockchain technology is beneficial due to the way nodes interact in the network. This architecture allows nodes to exchange only certain data while keeping it safe.
Decentralized systems for efficient data management
Blockchain is a globally distributed database. For this reason, storing and exchanging information has become easier and more efficient since its inception. Now it is possible to create affordable, fault-tolerant distributed storage and identification systems for various types of crime-related data. Such advantages have been used by law enforcement agencies all over the world to build data management systems.
In order to provide different levels of access to data and allow for the possibility of verification, such systems are built on top of “corporate” blockchains, such as HyperLedger Fabric, Corda, etc.
Authorities mostly use blockchain to develop solutions for storing evidence obtained during investigations.
For example, police officers use video cameras to transmit the image to the cloud storage via communication channels. In parallel with sending the file, a “digital fingerprint,” containing information about the camera, time, format, and size of the recorded files, is generated and saved on the blockchain. This signature is further used for data authentication.
The advantage of the blockchain is resistance to data manipulation. Any attempt to change or replace the file will fail due to the discrepancy between the new and original signatures. The cryptographic algorithms embedded in blockchain technology are used to confirm the authenticity of the evidence.
Another example of using a distributed ledger is a system for managing (collecting, storing) digital and physical evidence. Its principle can be described in two simple steps:
1) The investigator provides the description of the evidence in the system, and attaches a QR code to the material evidence while storing it;
2) Each time one interacts with the evidence, the QR is read, and the corresponding information is displayed and uploaded to the blockchain.
The database now contains the entire chain of events and actions performed with each corresponding evidence. Such management systems prevent the loss and tampering of evidence.
In India, large-scale experiments are underway to implement blockchain in the work of law enforcement agencies. So, in more than 200 hotels, the hotel registration system is based on the blockchain. Guest data is stored on the blockchain and compared with the police database to search for criminals and/or missing people.
The Indian government also plans to launch a blockchain system based on HyperLedger Fabric — “Police 2020”. This system is designed to collect and store data sent by citizens regarding the committed crimes.
At the same time, a legal framework for the use and application of blockchain technology by law enforcement agencies is being formed in China.
Blockchain is widely used by law enforcement agencies. Numerous countries are launching more and more national projects focused on the implementation of blockchain technology. The distributed ledger is being integrated into existing projects. Blockchain reduces the vast amount of workflow, which is vital for any government system. Already, there is a growing demand for the integration of distributed ledger technology into government structures in developed countries. With the development of technology, this demand will only increase.