Telangana moots use of blockchain technology in policing

Published: Published Date – 08:33 PM, Thu – 20 October 22

Telangana moots use of blockchain technology in policing
In a step expected to bring more transparency in the functioning of the police, Telangana may introduce a blockchain system for receiving complaints.

Hyderabad: In a step expected to bring more transparency in the functioning of the police, Telangana may introduce a blockchain system for receiving complaints.

IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao on Thursday flagged a report on the Firozabad police trying out blockchain for filing complaints and suggested to Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali and Director-General of Police M Mahender Reddy to get it done in the State.

“Let’s get this done all across our State HM@mahmoodalitrs Saab and @TelanganaDGP Garu. Seems like a very useful way to ensure accountability is assured,” Rama Rao said in a tweet, reiterating what Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao often said about technology being futile if it did not have a positive societal impact.

Goa adopted blockchain technology this August. Telangana, which already is using blockchain in land records, chit fund and more, is also thinking on these lines but on a bigger scale – across the State.

What is a Blockchain?

Blockchain is a chain of blocks of data. The data can be recorded and distributed but cannot be edited, deleted or destroyed. As new data comes in, it is entered into a fresh block and is chained to the previous block in a chronological order. Each block contains a hash or information linking the new block to the previous one, a timestamp and transaction data.

According to Dr Sujit P Gujar, Assistant Professor at the International Institute of Information Technology-Hyderabad, an expert in machine learning, cryptography, and AI applications, the move to use a blockchain platform will aid in effective policing. “Some physical documents or reports get damaged or lost over time. With blockchain, all the data is digitally stored and is not possible to tamper them,” he said.

“Thinking of scale is important. There will be a need for more computing power and more nodes are needed. Once the initial groundwork is done, no additional skills are needed to operate the platform. Mainly, it will make tampering of records a thing of the past” he said.

Blockchain can be used for auctions conducted by private and government agencies, taking up projects on a priority based on the citizen voting, collecting feedback by preserving anonymity, managing payments by telecom companies and many others.

Using blockchain, will allow the common man to register complaints online. They can be sure that the contents in the complaint cannot be changed. A token is generated which can be used to track the progress. There will be a trail of all activities pertaining to the complaint. It is easy to escalate the issue if it not addressed. The Telangana police have already digitised several components of their work, said Mohit Goel, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hyderabad-based Metalok, which specialises in blockchain products and services.

Goel said this technology will also come handy if an sexual offender registry were to be created. “All the data concerned to a case will be digitally accessible,” he said.

Kaavya Prasad, Founder, Lumos Labs, said blockchain technology could help police to share data, digital assets, and transactions seamlessly. Law enforcement information such as forensic data and digital identity would be stored in blocks, generating an immutable proof of request when a data transaction occurs.

Blockchain enables participants to keep a copy of an immutable proof of transactions in a distributed network. This could also help law enforcement agents to track and monitor suspects through GPS systems, collect and store data with the use of cloud computing and identify and apprehend criminals through the use of facial recognition software, drones and social media.

“Blockchain projects that are capable of fixing the flaws in the current working procedures to a great extent,” said Prasad adding that the Blockchain project, Airchains, being used by the Firozabad Police, was the winner of PolygonLEAP 2021 Accelerator organised by Lumos Labs and Polygon.

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