The blockchain changes the judicial community: the evidence is completed within 1 second, and the cost is one percent of the traditional notarization.

From the electronic evidence deposit, to the electronic contract, copyright confirmation, in the judicial field, the blockchain is no longer a new thing.

On June 14th, the Information Center of the Supreme People's Court participated in the guidance, and a number of courts and blockchain enterprises participated in the preparation of the White Paper on the Application of Blockchain Judicial Deposits.

Prior to this, there were at least seven Internet courts in China, and the blockchain electronic evidence platform was launched. The deposit of electronic evidence has long entered the era of blockchain.

Courts, blockchain enterprises and legal workers at all levels are actively promoting the blockchain's landing in the judicial field. Judicature has become one of the first areas in the blockchain.

In the judicial field, what are the challenges solved by the blockchain and what are the challenges? How will this emerging technology change the judicial era?

01 landing

"We are about to enter another era of new judicial proof, the era of electronic evidence." At the beginning of this century, Professor He Jiahong, a famous Chinese jurist, predicted.

In 2004, China introduced the Electronic Signature Law. In April of the same year, the Beijing Haidian Court concluded a dispute over arrears. The defendant submitted the SMS record in his mobile phone to the court as evidence and was recognized. This is regarded by the judicial community as "the first case of electronic evidence in China."

However, compared with physical evidence, electronic evidence has a series of fatal problems, such as difficulty in obtaining evidence, easy to be tampered with, and difficult to identify…

Zhang Yujie, a researcher at the Guangzhou University's Public Law Research Center, found that after 2012, in the 20,318 cases involving “electronic data” and “electronic evidence” in China, the electronic evidence obtained by the court was only 7.2%. In addition, the effectiveness of electronic evidence relies heavily on the national notary department, resulting in high judicial costs.

However, after the emergence of the blockchain, it is technically expected to solve these problems.

On June 14th, the Information Center of the Supreme People's Court, the China Information and Communication Research Institute and the Shanghai Higher People's Court took the lead, and the White Paper on the Application of Judicial Deposits in Blockchain, jointly sponsored by many units such as Zhongjing Tianping and Tencent, was officially released.

The white paper pointed out that blockchain technology can solve the pain points that electronic evidence is easy to lose and difficult to identify in the judicial process, and has practical value for improving the efficiency of electronic data recognition.

Its release means that the blockchain judicial deposit has gradually been recognized by the people's courts at all levels.

In fact, the blockchain judicial deposit has long been one of the earliest scenarios of blockchain technology.

In June 2018, a case concluded by the Hangzhou Internet Court became the first case of the “blockchain deposit certificate” in China.

A blockchain review judgment found that this case is a typical copyright infringement case. The plaintiff Huatai Yi Media Company believed that its copyright works (text reports and photographic works) were infringed by the same company and the latter was brought to court.

The verdict shows that the plaintiff has stored electronic data such as screenshots of its own web pages, source code and hash information of the calling information through a third-party platform security network, and stored in the Factom (Notary) and Bitcoin blockchains. The Hangzhou Internet Court adopted electronic evidence of these blockchains.

The court found that the electronic evidence submitted by the plaintiff to the court was exactly the same as the hash value stored on the blockchain, so it can be considered that the evidence was “save intact and not modified” since it was wound up.

In the end, the Hangzhou Internet Court found that the third-party electronic depository platform selected by the plaintiff was neutral, and the technology for obtaining forensics on the infringing webpage was credible, and the electronic data generated thereby was authentic, complete and irreversible. It is concluded that the defendant company constitutes infringement.

It is worth mentioning that the judgment also gives the court's attitude towards the blockchain deposit:

"For electronic data that is fixed by means of blockchain and other technical means, it should be subject to an open and neutral attitude for case analysis and identification. It is impossible to exclude or enhance the identification of technologies such as blockchains that belong to the current new and complex technical means. The standard cannot be lowered because the technology has the characteristics of being difficult to tamper with or delete."

02 Advancement

The blockchain’s landing in the judicial field is not a one-time move. It requires joint efforts of the public security inspection system, technology companies, notary industry and academia.

This can be seen in the list of editors of the White Paper on the Application of Judicial Deposits in Blockchain. Participating in this white paper is not only the Supreme People's Court Information Center, China Information and Communication Research Institute, but also provincial and municipal courts, public security bureaus, notary associations, and technology companies such as Tencent, Baidu, and Ant Financial.

“In this case, courts at all levels are the main promoters of the blockchain in the judicial field.” Sun Yuan, a researcher in the blockchain, pointed out that “but the technical capabilities of the courts come from technology companies.”

Take the Hangzhou Internet Court as an example. In September 2018, the Hangzhou Internet Court launched a judicial blockchain platform, where users can directly complete the entire process of blockchain forensics and deposit certificates. The technical solution of this platform comes from the ant blockchain of Ant Financial.

According to official data, in the choice of nodes, the judicial blockchain platform of the Hangzhou Internet Court has adopted the form of a coalition chain. The main nodes include notary offices, judicial appraisal centers, courts and other institutions. At the time of prosecution, the parties may submit a lawsuit application on the Hangzhou Internet Court litigation platform. After the real-name authentication is successful, the infringement record of the already-issued certificate can be linked and submitted directly.

The blockchain electronic evidence has also been approved by the Supreme Law and can be used in the Internet case proof process.

In September 2018, the Supreme Law stated in the latest judicial interpretation:

“Electronic data submitted by the parties can prove their authenticity through electronic signature, trusted time stamp, hash value verification, blockchain and other evidence collection, fixed and tamper-proof technical means or through electronic forensic evidence platform certification. The Internet court should confirm."

In fact, the blockchain’s landing in the judicial arena is not limited to the courts.

In May 2018, Guangzhou Foshan Chancheng District released the first “blockchain + community correction” application project – “social correction chain”, which used the blockchain in community correction practice.

As a non-custodial punishment, community correction must be serious. The traditional social supervision mode is mainly carried out through regular reporting, field investigation, electronic monitoring, etc., with high cost and low efficiency. After the blockchain intervention, the information of the social correction personnel can be stored in the hardware chain by electronic positioning bracelets, which is convenient for the staff to manage, and there is no need to worry about the tampering of the correction information.

In addition, community corrections also involve public, inspection, law, local street offices, flow management offices and other departments. Banks, insurance, telecommunications, public railways and other systems often need to read information on social correction systems. The social correction information is linked, so that the linkage ability of each department has been improved, and the social correction staff can simplify the document handling procedures.

03 Future

At present, many practitioners believe that the role of the blockchain in the judicial field should not be deified. In the future, there are still many problems in the judicial field, waiting for various new technologies including blockchains to be solved.

"In the judicial field, only the evidence is stored in the chain, but it is also a relatively junior blockchain application." Zhang Cheng, a lawyer at Jincheng Tongda Law Firm, pointed out.

In his view, at present, the major blockchain depository platforms mainly solve the problem of the efficiency of electronic evidence identification—that is, to increase the speed of electronic evidence recognition and reduce judicial costs.

This has also been recognized by practitioners. The plaintiff in the "First Case of Blockchain Deposit" said in an interview with "Daily Economic News" that the blockchain forensics involved in the case can be completed in one second, and the cost is only about 10 yuan. The notarization fee of about 1,000 yuan in traditional notarization is indeed very low.

However, the authenticity of the source of electronic evidence in the blockchain is still not guaranteed. In other words, blockchain electronic evidence still has the potential for fraud.

"This is also one of the difficulties of the blockchain technology itself." Zhang Wei said, "The evidence chain is completed spontaneously by the user. The user will fake the evidence and the blockchain will be faithfully recorded."

In Sun Yuan’s view, at present, the mainstream blockchain depositing platform is still highly dependent on blockchains such as Bitcoin. These blockchain platforms have a large number of overseas nodes, which may be contrary to domestic judicial sovereignty.

"For example, in the first case of the blockchain deposit certificate concluded in the Internet Court of Hangzhou, the plaintiff chose the notary public and the Bitcoin blockchain." He pointed out that "at this stage, the two are indeed more credible. High platform. But in the future, the court may prefer the domestic alliance chain."

In addition to the issue of deposits, another difficulty in the popularization of blockchain technology in the judicial field comes from the construction of technology platforms.

Taking the Hangzhou Internet Court Judicial Blockchain Platform as an example, as an alliance chain platform, it needs more judicial institutions to access the alliance chain. "But in the business practice, most of the judicial institutions have a relatively low degree of informationization," Zhang said.

In addition, in the process of establishing a blockchain evidence platform, different local courts do not have uniform technical standards.

"Taking the Internet courts in Beijing and Hangzhou as an example, the blockchain judicial platform is supported by different institutions and the technical standards are not uniform. The same is true of other local courts." Zhang Wei pointed out.

In the blockchain justice field, practitioners are expecting a unified set of blockchain technology standards.

In Zhang Jian's view, blockchain technology is expected to change the future judicial process and trial format. But if you want to achieve this goal, it still needs to be combined with technologies such as 5G, AI, and big data.

This is because the entire judicial process is actually the process from evidence formation, evidence extraction, evidence sorting to cross-examination and evidence collection.

Blockchain technology solves the first few steps. However, in the process of sorting out evidence, AI and big data technology are the key to assisting lawyers and judges in making decisions.

The current hot 5G technology is expected to change the existing form of trial.

In May 2019, the tripartite remote video trial of criminal cases in the first 5G environment in China was successfully completed in the Intermediate People's Court of Xiong'an New District of Hebei Province.

"The application of 5G network solves the problem of extended, unclear and unstable remote video trials in the past." Zhang Wei pointed out.

During the trial of this case, the judges, inspectors and appellants were in the three places and participated in the trial together through 5G remote network video.

"The emergence of 5G trials and Internet courts has made remote courts a reality." Sun Yuan said, "In this process, the blockchain serves as a evidence carrier for evidence, enabling remote secure transmission of evidence. Several techniques After the combination, a new era of justice is expected to come."

From Hangzhou to Beijing, more and more courts have begun to try to apply blockchain technology to the judicial field.

The blockchain depository platform has improved the speed of electronic evidence recognition and reduced judicial costs. However, there are still pain points, and there is still no uniform technical standard in the industry.

It is foreseeable that as the degree of informatization of the judiciary increases, more blockchains will be applied in the judicial field.

Text | Pizza Ratchet