UK Government Pilots Storage of Digital Evidence on a Blockchain

The UK Government has disclosed plans to conduct a pilot project for storing digital evidence on a blockchain.

The initiative was revealed in an announcement by Balaji Anbil, Head of Digital Architecture and Cyber Security at Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) under the Ministry of Justice.

Court Reform

In the announcement, Anbil revealed that the HMCTS push to look into distributed ledger technology forms a major part of the body’s court reform plan. HMCTS and the UK Cabinet Office Open Innovation team held a joint meeting to this end, with the aim of establishing how blockchains and digital ledgers can assist court reforms.

Providing technical expertise at the meeting was Dr. Sadek Ferdous, Technology Policy Fellow and Research Associate at Imperial College, London. He explained to participants that the decentralized nature of distributed ledgers gives them a very high level of integrity and enables innovative data solutions.

He went further to explain how blockchains can help in digital evidence management by creating a foolproof audit trail that tracks custody and prevents tampering. This audit trail essentially forms that basis for the court system’s record of the creation, modification and access to digital evidence by what entity.

Using such evidence, it is possible to create accurate and sequential reconstructions of events to examine actions and determine how the current state of digital evidence came to be. As such, the blockchain effectively has the power to provide a critical protection framework for digital evidence by providing a guarantee of evidence chain integrity.

Other UK Blockchain Governance Projects

In the blog, Anbil further revealed that researchers at the University of Surrey are working on a DLT project with the National Archives to create a solution for secure digital archive storage. In addition, there is a plan to trial an inter-agency evidence sharing platform based on a blockchain that will come into effect later in 2018.

Expressing his excitment about the government’s interest in blockchain technology Anbil said:

“We are very excited to work with the Open Innovation team at the Cabinet Office, and to host thought leadership events on emerging technologies with our colleagues within the government digital communities.”

In July, CCN reported that the UK government is looking into codifying the use of smart contracts into British law as part of efforts to help the UK remain competitive in the face of advancing technology.

Earlier this week, CCN also reported that Kenya is considering the implementation of a new blockchain-based electoral process in order to improve voter confidence and reduce the opportunity for vote rigging.