The University of Surrey in the UK has announced the launch of a new blockchain system that will secure digital video records belonging to the government.
Named ARCHANGEL the system is described as a “novel distributed ledger system” that will ensure the long-term integrity and security of digital video archives. It will combine blockchain and aspects of Artificial intelligence (AI) to offer top-notch protection against any possible tampering.
ARCHANGEL was recently recognised as a research highlight in 10 years of the UKRI Digital Economy programme, and is a part of the Surrey blockchain testbed. The testbed includes more than £3.5 million of UKRI and EU funded projects in the field of blockchain and associated technologies.
In a press release, the Universities Centre for Vision, Speech, and Signal Processing announced its collaboration with the Open Data Institute and the National Archives in the UK. Together they have developed a “highly secure, decentralised computer vision and blockchain based system” which will guarantee the long term preservation of digital archives.
The system is designed to provide a digital fingerprint for the archives, making it possible to verify their authenticity. It uses the field of computer vision which is where computers are programmed to analyse and understand digital images or videos.
Blockchain technology is used within ARCHANGEL to create a database which is maintained by a number of archives. The system will then automatically flag any modifications to the digital public record- malicious or accidental- whilst ensuring everything is backed by the proof-of-authority system.
A spokesperson from the university explained:”Everyone can check and add records, but no one can change them. As no data can be modified, the integrity of the historical record remains intact.”
The system has already been piloted by the national government archives of the UK, Norway. Estonia, and Australia, as well as the National Archives and Records Administration in the US. The University will also present a paper to describe the project and its implications at the CVPR conference in LA next month.
CEO of the Open Data Institute, Jeni Tennison said: “It is becoming easier and easier to manipulate digital records, which makes it crucial for the institutions who take care of those records to be able to demonstrate their trustworthiness.”
John Sheridan, the Digital Director of the National Archives added that “Exploring blockchain technology together with some of the world’s leading archives, the ARCHANGEL project has shown, for real, how archives might combine forces to protect and assure vital digital evidence for the future. ARCHANGEL has been an outstanding partnership that has delivered ground breaking research into the practicalities of using blockchain to assure trust in large scale digital archives.”