US Police Devices Firm Explores Blockchain to Fight Deepfake Videos

The impetus behind Axon’s interest in emerging technologies is public and government concerns about “deepfake” videos, Reuters reported on Oct. 3. Deepfake videos are produced using a particular type of artificial intelligence (AI) making them look and sound like the real thing. 

Leading technology manufacturer for United States law enforcement Axon Enterprise Inc. is exploring new data tracking technologies, including blockchain, for its body cameras.

This technology causes a great apprehension that bad actors can easily manipulate videos to discredit an individual. This is obviously of major concern for police wearing body cameras. Axon is looking into using blockchain to verify the authenticity of police body-cam footage.

Verifying police footage

In its new generation of cameras, Axon includes a secure digital signature to help track provenance of videos. “Axon recognizes the threat posed by ‘deepfakes’ to cause general mistrust in the integrity of any video, including body-worn camera videos”, Axon’s spokesperson told Reuters.

Blockchain and AI lead the way

Blockchain and AI are now widely used by enterprises to improve their internal processes and products. In a dedicated analysis for Cointelegraph, Julia Magas wrote that by being able to continuously analyze data under a strict protocol required for achieving desired results, AI leads the way by allowing data to be properly stratified and shared.

Blockchain lends its characteristics to make sure the data is handled in an environment that is safe from external interference, as well as tampering of data ownership and sequence.

On the government level, The European Union is increasing the amount of data that can be reused as raw material for AI and blockchain projects. Alexandru Petrescu, Romania’s minister for communications, said:

“These rules are a real enabler for artificial intelligence and will help Europe to become a world leader in this crucial area. They will bolster the EU digital industry, especially smaller companies and startups, which would not otherwise have access to all the data they need to innovate and expand.”

US House Passes Bill for FinCEN to Study Blockchain Use

Congress wants the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to up its internal blockchain game with a new bill to study how the technology could be adapted for law enforcement.

On Sept. 19, the House of Representatives passed legislation calling for the financial crimes regulator to study its use of “innovative technologies” – including blockchain. The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

The “Advancing Innovation to Assist Law Enforcement Act” mandates that FinCEN’s director consider how blockchain and other tech advances can improve the bureau’s operations.

“The Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) shall carry out a study on… whether AI, digital identity technologies, blockchain technologies, and other innovative technologies can be further leveraged to make FinCEN’s data analysis more efficient and effective”, the bill reads.

Freshman Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R) Ohio, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced the bill in May as a high-tech means to fight financial crimes.

“My bill makes sure that we are using the best technology we have available to find and stop the money laundering that makes all these crimes not only possible, but financially profitable for cartels, traffickers, and terrorists”, Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez’ act pushes FinCEN towards a technology whose best-known manifestation – cryptocurrencies – have largely been its to regulate. The Treasury department bureau’s interpretive guides and letters on matters from AML compliance to ICO rules inform industry players. If signed into law, FinCEN may have to jump in.

Gerard Daché, executive director at the Government Blockchain Association, which promotes blockchain technology solutions to government, called the advance long overdue.

The government often plays catch-up to “bad guys” and their blockchain tools, Daché said, wasting time, energy and money on antiquated techniques while the enemy races ahead.

“It’s almost like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand” said Daché. Government bureaus such as FinCEN need to study how these tools are being used and then integrate them into their own arsenal, he said.

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