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Peace & Stability through the Blockchain: Policing

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:48 PM
Justin OConnell
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:48 PM

This is part 4 of CCN.com’s “Peace & Stability Through The Blockchain” Series. 

For part 1, click here.

For part 2, click here.

For part 3, click here.

In this edition, we explore the way in which policing can be changed via public ledger technology. 

Similar to how blockchain-forward technologies streamline the border, the same could be done on a blockchain during a routine traffic stop or encounter of an officer and a civilian. City, county, state and federal governments have yet to fully synthesize their data on people.

Oftentimes in a traffic stop officers do not know with whom they’re dealing. That poses a threat to officer safety. In order to deal with this shortcoming, the Department of Homeland Security has sought to organize “fusion centers” under President George Bush’s National Strategy for Information Sharing, which established the centers.  

As the ACLU warns  of such centers: “While diverse and often still in the early stages of formation, they often seem to be characterized by ambiguous lines of authority, excessive secrecy, troubling private-sector and military participation, and an apparent bent toward suspicionless information collection and data mining. We urged policymakers to examine this incipient network of institutions closely and, at a minimum, to put rigorous safeguards in place to ensure that fusion centers would not become the means for another wave of such abuses.”

Not only could officer safety be ensured in the field with a fusion center based on a public ledger model, but the ACLU’s transparency concerns could also be alleviated.

To take it the police stop and blockchain  one step further, in my countries the payment of bribes is a common ritual. So as to take advantage of this, perhaps a blockchain based police database system could also work as a transaction vehicle in which digital currencies are paid on the spot for fines and an officer receives a cut as third party to the transaction above his salary to disincentivize bribes. New laws might have to be enacted for such an occurrence to be possible.

On the flipside, this technology could aid the driver of the vehicle, whose information can be uploaded to a public ledger regarding his car specs in real time. How fast was he driving, etc. This public ledger evidence could one day be used as defense in court.

As Christa Steele stated at the Blockchain Conference in San Francisco:  “Why don’t we just overhaul the whole criminal justice system?”

She spoke of her husband, a member of law enforcement: “So, he goes pulls to someone over right now and they have a felony, there’s no way to figure out what type of felony,” she lamented. “I’d want to know that if I pull someone over. He pulls someone over there’s no way, so they have to check into five or six different systems to access the information. What if we were to tie all that information together? What would the worth in the scheme of things? Because then you [must]  incorporate the whole criminal justice system as far as prosecution, going to jail and a whole slew of steps along the way.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.