Blockchain Will Revolutionize Our Interactions With Government
One of the key themes at the 2018 edition of Smart to Future Cities, held in London, was the evolution of blockchain. The still-new technology has the potential to completely revolutionize how we interact with governments, councils, boroughs and authorities, but it is still a little unclear how exactly this will work.
In a session named “Building with Blockchain: Citizen-focused Government Services with Distributed Ledger Technology,” Peter Ferry, founder of blockchain-as-a-service company Wallet Services, and Bill Buchanan OBE, of Edinburgh Napier University, spoke about how blockchain can be used for secure, easy transactions between government and citizen.
Ferry used the example of how blockchain has invented a new type of currency – Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies — while saying that this tech could help governments store data securely. Using examples from his time at Wallet Services, he said that many governments don’t store hugely personal, private or sensitive data on or about its citizens in a secure enough way.
As such, when a user submits data for, say, a passport application, this sometimes is not saved, requiring them to submit data again for another piece of government-issued ID, such as a driving license. This way, the data be encrypted, with only the correct user’s encryption key able to unencrypted it, meaning it would be much harder to hack, as attackers would need different keys for each user — a mammoth task.
Buchanan continued on a similar theme, starting off his presentation by saying “encrypt everything that moves, lives, or breathes,” much to the amusement of the audience. With regards to data and GDPR, Buchanan told the audience that citizens own the right to access their data, and the addition of blockchain to government services would enable that to happen. He also said that despite this, we risk becoming a Big Brother society, and so government officials and civil servants need to understand how that data can be securely stored while not becoming Big Brother.
Finally, he advocated for the use of public key encryption, saying that “everyone should have their own digital signature,” as traditional signatures are outdated as he or she can easily be copied, duplicated or forged by increasingly advanced artificial intelligence.
— Phil Oakley, Site Editor, TechX365