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.

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“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).

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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