From "after-the-fact forensics" to "synchronized deposit certificate", the change of procuratorial handling mode brought by blockchain technology

Author: Zhao Zhigang

Source: Procuratorate Daily

Evidence is the core content of litigation. The authenticity of evidence comes from the investigation and evidence collection at the source, from the storage and transfer of the middle. Whether at the source or in the middle, the evidence has the possibility of being tampered with. This is not only the focus of procuratorial work, but also the problem of various criminal, civil and administrative litigation participants. How to ensure the authenticity of evidence at the source, the middle and the back? Blockchain technology can guarantee the authenticity of the evidence after it is chained, solve the problem of mutual “trust” in information interaction, and solve the problem with its technical features of “authenticity guarantee” and “chaining is not tampering”. Provided an opportunity.

The judiciary is constantly exploring the use of new technological means for the collection and transmission of evidence and evidence. Traditional types of cases (such as criminal cases such as murder and robbery, natural cases such as loans for natural persons) will use electronic data as one of the main evidences (such as public camera video, Alipay transfer records), new types of cases (computer network, financial field, In the field of CNC manufacturing, it is inevitable that relying on electronic data evidence will make it possible to find out the facts. It can be said that if the data is not available, the case handling cannot be carried out smoothly.

Based on the traditional evidence theory, the truth of the case is often restored through the post-investigation “investigation and evidence collection”. In this way, there is an objective risk that the evidence is tampered with and there is perjury. "After-the-fact evidence collection" must ensure the authenticity of evidence in the process of acquisition, preservation and circulation, and it is necessary to follow a series of legal procedural regulations. As the use of information technology continues to increase, we can change the notion of treating legal evidence—from “after-the-fact forensics” to “synchronized deposit”.

The so-called "synchronized deposit certificate" means that when objective facts occur, they are simultaneously recorded as electronic data by means of information technology, realizing real-time big data, full data, and fine data records. Urban surveillance cameras are the best example of this mechanism. For "synchronized deposit", what is used to ensure the authenticity of the evidence generation, storage, and retrieval process?

Although it is possible to rely on legal norms to construct a utmost susceptibility fortress, but how can operators prove to others cheaply and conveniently? The answer is blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is a technology application model that integrates information technology such as cryptography, point-to-point transmission, and distributed storage. The core feature is to ensure that data cannot be tampered after being chained.

Using blockchain technology, we can perform a “zero-knowledge proof” that enables a verifier to believe that a assertion is correct without providing any useful information to the verifier. By using this technology, state organs, enterprises, institutions and individuals that carry out simultaneous deposits and certificates can prove the authenticity of the evidence stored without revealing the information of the stored data. Each block maintains a complete blockchain data, which is mutually verified, and achieves the organic unification of data consistency, availability, and fault tolerance.

To make the blockchain model work, you need to bridge the gap between the bit world and the atomic world. It is conceivable that in the near future, a blockchain system can be established throughout the litigation process. All the terminals of the units, groups, and individuals that wish to prove the authenticity of the data they have simultaneously verified and hope to be identified as evidence in the judicial process can join the node. For the data on these terminals, they are stored at the same time as they are generated, and a hash value (data fingerprint) is generated at the same time as the storage, and the hash value is periodically uploaded onto the blockchain. This means that solid and reliable information technology has endorsed the authenticity of the relevant data.

Exploring the use of “blockchain” in the field of people's livelihood can provide the public with more intelligent, more convenient and better public services. In the future, in the blockchain system of litigation, the use of blockchain technology for data synchronization and deposit can effectively reduce the trust cost between different entities. For example: 1 For criminal proceedings, defense attorneys can no longer challenge the fragmentation of the law enforcement recorder to be taken out of context because the supervision from the chain is continuous. 2 For the civil litigation activities, the evidence of contradiction between the two defendants is mutually exclusive, and the situation in which the judge is difficult to decide will be greatly reduced. It can be presumed that the evidence of the identity on the chain has stronger proof. 3 For administrative litigation activities, the complicated administrative regulations and the list of government duties and responsibilities will help to improve the credibility of the government. 4 For the inspection of public interest litigation activities, especially environmental cases, the satellite remote sensing data is included in the scope of simultaneous deposit and verification. We have tried and set up the “Intelligent Inspection Innovation Zone Inspection Chain Block Joint Laboratory” in Hubei in the past. During the year, it provided critical evidence for dozens of public interest litigation cases nationwide. 5 For prosecutorial supervision, the procuratorate uses the blockchain combined with artificial intelligence technology to achieve legal supervision, which can prevent the supervised object from being disturbed under legal conditions and better protect the privacy of the supervised object.

However, we should also clearly see that the technical bottom layer of the blockchain is still not perfect, and many basic theoretical issues have not yet broken through. Therefore, we are still unable to glimpse the full picture of the application of the future blockchain in the judicial scene. However, the core of the blockchain model is that information technology can be used to establish trust relationships between multiple entities. This is of great value to the evidence-centered litigation work and the prosecutorial supervision of the entire process of litigation.