Commonwealth Announces New Blockchain App to Fight Cross-Border Crime

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The Commonwealth announced a new project today to develop a “Blockchain” app to combat cross-border crime. The app will create a secure messaging system to help law enforcement and prosecutors in different Commonwealth countries cooperate more effectively on criminal investigations.

“This new app has the potential to change the way we cooperate on criminal justice matters and will help reduce serious crime throughout the Commonwealth. It will be particularly useful for combatting cybercrime and other technology-enabled crimes that are borderless by nature,” said Steven Malby, Legal Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat and the project lead.

He added:

“In today’s world, electronic evidence is an increasingly vital component of almost any investigation – whether for online or offline crime. We have been looking at new ways we can support the CNCP by using emerging technology, and in doing so, we are finding better ways to help member countries to work together in the fight against crime.”

The mobile app will use Blockchain technology, a decentralised record of data that can be verified and shared on a network of computers, to provide a secure and fast communication platform for the exchange of information between jurisdictions. It will be made available to the Commonwealth Network of Contact Persons (CNCP) – Commonwealth justice officials who provide informal advice on criminal investigations and obtaining evidence abroad.

The app, a joint venture with the Digital Identity Security Company, works by allowing a contact in an African member country, for example, to communicate with a contact in the Caribbean or anywhere else in the Commonwealth regarding a request for assistance with a criminal investigation.

The identities of contacts will be validated and stored by the app on the Blockchain, removing the need for a central Commonwealth database. Users will know the identity of all contacts through the app, which will also validate new individuals and automatically distribute their details. The app will enhance understanding of the practical and legal potential of Blockchain technologies.

Blockchain technology also underpins virtual currencies such as Bitcoin. It is essentially a record of digital events shared among many different parties that can only be updated by agreement between participants using the system. This technology has been recognised only recently as having other uses and applications.

Helping member countries make better use of new technology to facilitate international cooperation in criminal justice matters is a Commonwealth priority. The Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative and Working Group on Virtual Currencies have provided expertise in this area.

The Commonwealth is announcing the project to develop the app at a virtual currency and Blockchain conference, Consensus 2016, in New York (2-4 May).

About Richard Kastelein

Founder, Publisher and Editor in Chief of industry leading online publication, Blockchain News and co-founder and director at Blockchain Partners in London/Amsterdam/NYC. Kastelein is also an advisor with a number Blockchain startups doing ICOs including Humaniq.co where hs is interim CMO, DECENT.ch, Inchain, Chronobank, eGaas and others. He is regarded as one of the top journalists by the Blockchain and fintech communities – as is evident by his entry in the Top 150 Fintech journalists online and in the top 10 of the Blockchain Top 100 List.

As a prominent keynote presenter, he has spoken on Blockchain at events in Gdansk, Amsterdam, Minsk, Dubai, Antwerp, Eindhoven, Bucharest, Nairobi, Tel Aviv, Manchester, Brussels, Barcelona etc, where he helped spread the cause for Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency and, consequently, has built a notable network in the scene.

He’s also a director of a Dutch foundation called The Hackitarians and has run innovation events in London, San Francisco, Berlin, Amsterdam and other cities around the world on topics such Blockchain, Health, Energy, Internet of Things, AI etc.

In 2013, the European Commission appointed him as an expert for overseeing financing for emerging startups as a part of the European Commission’s 90 billion euro Horizon 2020 project, created in Brussels to promote innovation as a driving force of job creation and business ventures across Europe. He has also worked as an external expert for Innovate UK since 2012, judging startups for the UK government.

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