What Blockchain Means for Digital Evidence Sharing, Security, and Verification
An extract from an article by Ariel Watson as published by Cellebrite
Although blockchain innovation has garnered mixed reviews due to the volatility of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, it is important to separate the success of the blockchain technology, from the downsides of the Bitcoin application. The underlying blockchain distributed ledger technology (DLT) could prove to be the missing solution for managing digital assets, including digital evidence shared and validated between case stakeholders and agencies around the globe.
Evolving consumer technology continues to challenge investigations that need to validate the origin, integrity and authenticity of digital evidence. Blockchain delivers encrypted, immutable and secure digital record asset creation and management.
So, what exactly is blockchain technology?
A blockchain algorithm encodes data, referred to as a “block”, and permits updates to a historical record, in the form of a “chain”. This is sustained by a distributed ledger that is shared among its system’s participants. All blockchain system users become nodes of the distributed ledger that ensures integrity of data by leveraging all computers on the peer-to-peer network. The blockchain is structured this way in order to maintain the integrity of historical data, correct inconsistencies and detect tampering.
As a self-correcting storage system for digital records, blockchain has demonstrated data security that meets the standards of many modern-day laws. The validity of this innovative technology has prompted institutions in the US, and around the world, to amend or create laws that legitimize blockchain digital asset records in court and during governmental proceedings.
Transparency of how digital evidence is produced, accessed or modified (including attribution of stakeholders) would greatly enhance the reliability of the digital evidence chain-of-custody. Blockchain delivers this transparency by offering untrusted parties a method of accepted evidence authentication, whereby the digital transaction history is verifiable without a third-party intermediary.
For example, up to this point, in order to authenticate digital evidence, prosecutors and court administrators have had to rely upon third-party notary organizations to validate digital assets. Avoiding this form of “middle man” would significantly speed up case proceedings while lowering administrative costs.
Let’s take a look at the recent adoption of blockchain DLT in the US, China, and the UK.
- How Distributed Ledger Technology Might Influence eDiscovery
- Dweb: Building Cooperation and Trust into the Web with IPFS