The rise of digital cameras in the pockets of citizens, as well as the usage of police body cameras and digital evidence, have highlighted the systemic abuse of authority against black and brown communities in the United States. Body cameras have been shown to increase accountability and reduce brutality in police confrontations; however, many departments are unable to adopt new policies and technology due to cost. Currently, data storage costs for IoT enabled devices are not scalable and restricts a police department's ability to adopt body camera technology. In addition, for those departments who do utilize body worn cameras, data transparency between law enforcement and policed communities is non-existent, as it is currently impossible to tell if publicly released footage/reports have been tampered with or edited.
With increased recorded instances of police brutality and a complete lack of bipartisanship implementation of police accountability laws (like requiring the usage body cameras by state police forces), communities and their respective public servants are being torn apart by miscommunication, dangerous stereotypes, and politicized agendas. The inspiration for Record was to create an IoT enabled framework that empowers law enforcement to maintain the chain of custody of digital evidence and become more transparent while doing so; better enabling the communities that they police to hold them accountable when handling evidence.
In addition, the Record blockchain network can be applied to various vertical around security, military IoT devices, and supply chain use cases in which the integrity of recorded data needs to be maintained across untrusted parties. The underlying blockchain of the Record network ensures that any type of digital evidence can be traced throughout its history of custody and prevents attempts to tamper with key documents needed within pending litigation.
What it does
Record is a novel application of blockchain technology to better facilitate transparency issues between police and the diverse communities they serve. It also creates a framework to decrease data storage costs 10x fold, empowering forces to leverage forward thinking policing practices without breaking their budgets. Our team attempts to affect change in four niche areas:
Create increased, immutable transparency between police and communities of color by hashing police body camera, dash camera, and police report data on a publically viewable blockchain
Prevent over-exposure of police data to ensure to integrity of evidence not yet leveraged in court by encrypting its storage
Exponentially lower the cost of police data storage by leveraging decentralized, sharded cloud storage frameworks
Empower the legal community to use blockchain transaction details in court to prove/disprove police tampering of evidence
Build a decentralized reputational system around how transparent and trustworthy transacting organizations on the network are (police forces, governments, manufacturers, etc.)
Technically speaking, Record is an IoT enabled framework that streams data to low cost cloud solutions while committing cryptographic fingerprints of zed data on a public blockchain. Police can exponentially lower their IoT (Internet Protocol enabled Body Cameras, Dash Cameras, etc.) data storage costs and citizens can compare and contrast released police footage and report to determine if there has been any tampering with pending evidence.
Outside of use cases with body cameras and IoT enabled devices used by law enforcement (i.e. police, FBI, CIA), Record’s ecosystem can be utilized in other verticals like the military and security industries. Of course, many parties within these industries will require increased transactional privacy (even privileged transaction capabilities) given the sensitivity of their work. Here are a few brief use cases in other markets:
- General Use: Enable consumer IP camera users to utilize the Record chain network for their own use cases
- Hardware: License software to IP device brands to enable built-in streamed decentralized data storage and immutability
- Military: IoT devices (cameras, contracts), evidence chain of custody, digital evidence
- Security:Tamper-proof security camera footage in the case zed footage needs to be used in court
- Supply Chain: Inbound and Outbound video analysis that records the condition of products, accident prevention and event analysis with workers - such records can be used with insurance claims when parties debate when the product was broken within the supply chain
- Automotive Market: Potential integration into cars for insurance claim purposes. Car video and log files (speed, sensor data, etc) can be hashed on behalf of the driver to create an immutable record of vehicle conditions before/during reported accidents
Impact will be measured by the following
- Number of verified digital records by the public. Every time a journalist or community member attempts to check publically released digital records against the original hash of the record submitted by law enforcement marks an opportunity for law enforcement to gain more trust from their community.
- The amount of capital saved per fiscal year by the entities using Records Blockchain network (via diversified, cheaper cloud storage) is also another quantifiable impact metric.
- Number of un-tampered change of custody events with transacted digital data
How I built it
Our team is building this solution by embedding software onto an Internet Protocol camera that tells the camera to stream and store its data on a client specified cloud service (AWS S3, Storj, or Sia). After storing the data, the data is cryptographically hashed (using a secure and robust algorithm) and committed to a public blockchain that normal citizens can reference. Built on top of zed blockchain are two decentralized applications - one that faces police for uploading data, and the other that faces citizens who want to easily compare released police data to check its veracity.
Challenges I ran into
Challenges our team is running into are determining fool-proof video fingerprint algorithms that can not only compare two videos to see if they're the same, but that can also determine if a clip is from a larger video (and whether that clip is in chronological frame order) to detect if it has been edited.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
So far we have developed a very thorough white paper and are beginning development. We're proud of the fact that we have combined such a prevalent social justice issue with a new technology to bring about change and increased transparency to law enforcement.
What I learned
Our team is learning more about data identity hashes, how to leverage IoT software and devices, and how to best develop scalable blockchain frameworks on top of ethereum.
What's next for Record
We hope to scale this technology into a underlying software for all body camera suppliers across the world and to also use it within the security and military industries.