Will blockchain technology make “smart guns” more acceptable? Kevin Barnes, chairman and CEO of Blocksafe, thinks he has a good chance. The blockchain brings improved security and privacy to “smart gun” technology, which could appease critics.
Smart guns have embedded computers to enhance safety by preventing anyone other than authorized parties from firing the weapons. In some cases, the computers ensure that guns only fire when aimed at inanimate targets.
Some gun enthusiasts see such guns as a step towards gun control. Some critics also think the security technology to date is unreliable. Different technologies, such as biometric fingerprints and RFID, have been deployed. According to Fortune magazine, the gun industry has not been supportive of the technology since it would involve a major investment.
Barnes, a veteran, recognizes that many gun owners fear having their verification placed in a centralized database that the government can monitor, which to many is a slippery slope to turning off the ability to use one’s own weapon.
Smart guns, however, attempt to solve the problem of gun theft by making them unusable to anyone but the owner.
Barnes envisions the Blocksafe network as the first blockchain-based system to manage smart gun functionality on the blockchain, bringing improved security and privacy to every type of supported gun technology hardware.
As of July 5, Blocksafe has raised $3,950 against a $55,000 goal in a crowd sale that lasts through July 15. All contributors will receive rewards for their contribution, Barnes said. If the campaign misses or exceeds its goal, the contributors will receive their rewards and be listed on the crowd sale page.
When a gun fires, the Blocksafe “shotspot” technology senses and logs details on the Blocksafe ledger. Notifications simultaneously go to emergency personnel. Multiple “shotspots” work together to detect, locate, and respond to gun discharges.
If an unauthorized user tries to use a gun in the Blocksafe network, the network notifies the owner and optional family members via smartphone.
Barnes told CCN.com that production will not begin until thorough testing of the system has been completed.
The limitations of existing smart gun technology are evidenced by the lack of implementation by law enforcement.
“Law enforcement use has been limited because of a lack of proper infrastructure for adequate adoption of smart gun tech,” Barnes said. “They have video recording and some try to use sound sensors to listen for firearm discharge in the city. But without a non-hackable decentralized infrastructure, IoT devices like smart devices on guns have too many security risks. Blocksafe is aiming to solve this major hurdle.”
The technology will include locks that mount on the gun. Barnes said he is developing custom prototypes of smart devices, but the bigger focus is on developing and maintaining the Blocksafe network and infrastructure.
Blocksafe will provide SDK, API and support for other manufacturers to use the Blocksafe network.
“The network’s purpose is to support the smart device’s features on the network such as logging activity and remote management that only the device owner can do,” Barnes explained. “For example, a smart lock can be used on the gun and can alert the owner of unauthorized discharges using the Blocksafe app. This will help the device owner control the use and location of the firearm.”
Police chiefs and security companies will be able to use the Blocksafe network to monitor the activity of employees’ firearms in real-time, according to Barnes. Stolen guns will be easier to locate.
Instructors at firing ranges and training centers will be able to train in safer environments. They will be able to analyze shooting patterns, track inventory, and more.
Gun owners will have a real-time count on how many rounds are left in their magazines.
Owners will be able to prevent themselves and/or authorized users from being overpowered and shot with their own guns. They also will be able to contact loved ones or emergency personnel immediately following an incident.
“The stakes are too high for a hackable, controllable third-party solution,” Barnes said. “We believe that an anonymous, secure and decentralized infrastructure must be in place to reduce gang activity, locate stolen firearms, and prevent guns from being used against owners. These advanced features can save lives and our right to self-defense.”
Featured image from Shutterstock.