UK Government Pilots Blockchain in Bid to Secure Digital Evidence

The U.K. Ministry of Justice is investigating blockchain as a possible tool for securing digital forms of evidence, its deputy director said Thursday.

AccessTimeIconAug 23, 2018 at 5:50 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:18 a.m. UTC

The U.K. Ministry of Justice is investigating blockchain as a possible tool for securing digital forms of evidence, its deputy director said Thursday.

The idea is that the technology can be used to simplify court processes for handling digital evidence, according to Balaji Anbil, who is also the head of digital architecture and cybersecurity at the Justice Ministry.

The agency involved in the test is Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), and according to Anbil, a working group focused on the tech recently held its first meeting on the matter.

In the Thursday blog post, Anbil explained that "as an architectural style, distributed ledgers enable new innovative data solutions that support both high degrees of integrity and [decentralization]."

Anbil added:

"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. 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 explained that the technology has already been used by some European Union member nations, highlighting Estonia in particular as a country which "developed innovative citizen identity management solutions using blockchain."

The post also noted that HMCTS will trial the technology for "inter-agency evidence sharing" later this year.

Last November, Alistair Davidson, a technical architecture lead at the Ministry, outlined the use case in a separate blog that, at the time, did not indicate that the U.K. government was moving ahead with an actual pilot.

"This property of distributing trust could be genuinely transformational in situations where public trust of government might not be taken for granted," Davidson wrote at the time.

HMCTS image via pxl.store / Shutterstock

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