China’s ministry of public security, in charge of all Chinese police forces, has built a blockchain application which stores evidence from police investigations. The technology, which was patented at China’s Intellectual Property Office in November 2017, takes police investigation data that is uploaded to cloud storage and puts it into a blockchain.
This solves a concern of Chinese police about data in cloud storage that can easily be altered and manipulated. Now that the data will be stored in a blockchain, it is virtually tamper-proof, with cryptographic security that has yet to be breached by hackers.
This is important since criminals have a major incentive to hack into the police database and destroy evidence to avoid punishment. With blockchain technology, police, lawyers and judges are likely to see this move as a direct improvement of the justice system in China.
The technology will require multiple signature confirmations when storing data, providing an immutable ledger of when data was stored and who stored it. This will provide clarity and transparency to the police investigation process and help lawyers prepare for court.
The blockchain application also provides a clear supervisory process for storing police evidence, whereas before, there was no standard supervised process when storing data on cloud storage. This standardization of storing police evidence will increase efficiency.
The use of blockchain technology by a Chinese government agency will be taken as a positive sign by observers. In recent years, China has passed harsh regulatory measures to ban cryptocurrency activity, out of concern that cryptocurrency’s decentralized nature takes power away from the government. Even though China’s government has not openly embraced cryptocurrency, clearly some parts of the government see the usefulness of blockchain technology’s immutable and cryptographically secure ledger and storage systems, and are applying it for their benefit.
Another example of a Chinese government agency utilizing blockchain technology is the National Audit Office’s investigation of blockchain solutions to store audit data from provincial and local offices.
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