UK Ministry Of Justice Investigating Blockchain To Secure Digital Evidence

Blockchain, Innovation, News | August 24, 2018 By:

The UK Ministry of Justice is exploring the use of digital ledger technologies (DLT) in securing digital evidence.

In a blog post, Balaji Anbil, deputy director of the UK Ministry of Justice, said that the ministry is investigating the use of blockchain technology as part of its court reform plans to simplify its processes. Anbil joined Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to establish and lead the Digital Architecture and Cyber Security team, which recently held its first innovation meeting.

During the meeting, which was hosted in conjunction with the Open Innovation team at Cabinet Office, Dr. Sadek Ferdous, Technology Policy Fellow and Research Associate at Imperial College, provided an overview of his latest research on blockchain. Ferdous’s research includes assessing the advantages and disadvantages of private and public DLT systems, their relative security, scalability and cost profiles. Ferdous also provided an overview of both Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Sawtooth DLTs implementations and summarized key research challenges and innovations in both private and public sectors.

“Dr. Ferdous showcased a digital evidence audit trail proof of concept,” said Anbil. “The audit trail is an essential component in any digital evidence system providing a chronological record of system activities which capture how digital evidence has been created/accessed/modified by which entity, from what location, in such a way to enable the reconstruction and examination of the sequence of events, and actions leading to the current state of the digital evidence. This is clearly a critical capability in the protection of digital evidence and in provision of guarantee of the integrity of evidence chains.”

Anbil said that while blockchain is best known for its use in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the technology has the cpability to enable new innovative data solutions that support both high degrees of integrity and de-centralization.

“At HMCTS, we are passionate about the application of novel solutions to traditional challenges including evidence sharing, identity management and ensuring citizens have maximum control over their own information,” Anbil said. “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.”

Anbil noted that HMCTS is planning to trial DLT solutions for inter-agency evidence sharing later this year.