The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is mulling over how to apply blockchain technology to its government sector. The NARA is rolling out these technocratic proposals in response to the rise of deepfake videos online.
It’s becoming harder to verify information online and the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is taking notice. The government agency said that, due to the increase of deepfake videos and forged documents, it is looking to verify its records with the help of blockchain technology.
According to Eric Douglas, records management policy specialist for the NARA’s chief records officer, the technology “looks promising.” He says that blockchain has demonstrated it is able to efficiently authenticate digital copies of images and videos.
Fighting Against Deepfakes
The issue of deepfakes has affected the highest level of state collection services. Through the use of machine-learning, fraudulent videos are being created which can make it seem like public officials have said just about anything. Many fear such deepfakes could further erode public trust online. It’s especially concerning if such fraudulent videos, images, and documents are unable to be differentiated from their originals.
That’s the area, Douglas says, where blockchain provides promise — it will “allow the public to independently verify whether digital content taken from NARA’s catalog has not been altered,” he said.
Although the proposal remains theoretical at this point, it’s not without precedent. Last year, the NARA tested the technology with nearly 20,000 documents on the topic of former President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Each of the materials included a ‘hash’ in its metadata which allowed for easy verification.
Other Government Sectors Look On
Although there has been much excitement over the potential of blockchain technology within government sectors, none have really left their respective pilot programs yet. For example, the Food and Drug Administration was planning to also leverage the technology to share sensitive patient information. Similarly, the Office of Management and Budget also recently released a one-year implementation strategy for the technology.
Overall, the NARA may be the first government agency to roll out blockchain technology with the greatest amount of success. It will surely prove to be a model for other sectors if done right.
Do you believe the NARA’s thinking is in the right direction? Do we need blockchain-based verification systems in government? Let us know your thoughts below.
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