Authenticating Digital Evidence

Given the proliferation of digital media, the question of what types of evidence are admissible in court, and how they should be handled, is increasingly complex. Cellphone video has played a pivotal role in scores of high-profile cases in the US, as have recordings of 911 calls and footage captured from police body cameras

There’s no question this evidence is valuable, but ensuring its integrity and demonstrating an unbroken chain of custody, the documentation that records the chronological sequence of the custody, control and disposition of a piece of evidence, often proves difficult.

To avoid controversies surrounding digital evidence, some public safety authorities have started turning to a seemingly unlikely solution: blockchain technology. At its core, a blockchain is a decentralised database shared across a network. Unlike centralised databases, however, records are only accepted after attaining group consensus. It provides a way to incorporate a variety of data from multiple sources, anonymise it, track it and ensure its authenticity without the need for third-party validation. 

Indeed, blockchain holds the potential to help transform public safety by improving the way agencies handle their most sensitive evidence and data, enhancing interagency cooperation and promoting greater public trust in the integrity of investigations.

Blockchain is uniquely suited to tackling this challenge, according to gcn.com. In fact, the existing US federal guidelines for handling digital evidence are surprisingly similar to the way blockchains work. When seizing a hard drive, for example, special personnel will scan the contents and use that data to generate a hash value. In the same way blockchains use hash values to verify linked blocks, digital forensics investigators use hashes to track digital evidence. Blockchain presents multiple advantages over the current procedures. The principal advantage is the redundancy blockchain provides. 

Instead of relying on a team of specialists to first extract the data, then hash it, then track it, a “blockchain of custody” would allow for open submission of data to the blockchain, where it would be automatically verified by consensus, hashed and then entered into an immutable, shared public record.

Data collection by various agencies in the US has grown exponentially, but the ability to generate intelligence and then act upon this data continues to be hampered by bureaucratic inefficiencies, interagency divisions and siloed data.

Establishing a unified data standard poses many challenges because it requires buy-in from so many agencies.

Blockchain circumvents this problem by enabling trustless collaboration and removing the need for centralised authority. The promise of an immutable, open public record of all data submitted could overcome a major hurdle for interagency collaboration.

Blockchain’s “smart contract” feature could ensure protocols between agencies are always followed because they would be executed automatically by the system. 

Basically, a smart contract is a computer protocol that facilitates, verifies or enforces the performance of a contract or contract clause. In addition to formalising information requests and opening investigations, smart contracts might also help balance data privacy and public safety.

I-HLS

You Might Also Read:

Blockchain Will Radically Transform Anti-Fraud:

 

 

« EU Elections: Facebook Prepares
GCHQ Chief Wants A Big Effort To Improve British Cybersecurity »

Directory of Suppliers

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory

Free Access: Cyber Security Service Supplier Directory listing 4,000+ specialist service providers.

IT Governance

IT Governance

IT Governance is a leading global provider of information security solutions. Download our free guide and find out how ISO 27001 can help protect your organisation's information.

Practice Labs

Practice Labs

Practice Labs is an IT competency hub, where live-lab environments give access to real equipment for hands-on practice of essential cybersecurity skills.

Authentic8

Authentic8

Authentic8 transforms how organizations secure and control the use of the web with Silo, its patented cloud browser.

ZenGRC

ZenGRC

ZenGRC - the first, easy-to-use, enterprise-grade information security solution for compliance and risk management - offers businesses efficient control tracking, testing, and enforcement.

WEBINAR: How to improve threat detection and hunting in the AWS Cloud

WEBINAR: How to improve threat detection and hunting in the AWS Cloud

Thursday, August 20, 2020 - Join SANS and AWS Marketplace to learn the exercise of applying MITRE’s ATT&CK Matrix to the AWS Cloud and how to enhance threat detection and hunting in an AWS environment

Clayden Law

Clayden Law

Clayden Law are experts in information technology, data privacy and cybersecurity law.

Tenable Network Security

Tenable Network Security

Tenable Network Security - Don't rely only on CVSS to prioritize. Use machine learning to predict what is most likely to be exploited.

DigitalStakeout

DigitalStakeout

A simple and cost-effective solution to monitor, investigate and analyze data from the web, social media and cyber sources to identify threats and make better security decisions.

Jooble

Jooble

Jooble is a job search aggregator operating in 71 countries worldwide. We simplify the job search process by displaying active job ads from major job boards and career sites across the internet.

SevOne

SevOne

SevOne provides the world's fastest, most scalable network performance monitoring platform.

SWAMP

SWAMP

SWAMP offers a suite of secure and dependable analysis services, to help reduce the number of security vulnerabilities deployed in software.

Australian Cyber Security Growth Network (AustCyber)

Australian Cyber Security Growth Network (AustCyber)

AustCyber brings together businesses and researchers to develop the next generation of cyber security products and services.

Sandline Discovery

Sandline Discovery

Sandline Discovery provides digital forensics, eDiscovery solutions, managed review and litigation consulting services.

Cyber Forensic & Investigation (CFI)

Cyber Forensic & Investigation (CFI)

Cyber Forensic & Investigation (CFI) is recognized as Thailand’s leader in cyber investigations and digital forensics.

RangeForce

RangeForce

RangeForce delivers the only integrated cybersecurity simulation and skills analysis platform that combines a virtual cyber range with hand-on training.

Modular Law

Modular Law

Modular Law is a specialist IT law firm focused exclusively on technology, outsourcing and digital projects.

Group Salus

Group Salus

Salus provides SMBs with cyber security-related communications consulting, crisis management, and brand reputation services.