New EU Project to Deliver Chain of Custody Assurance using Blockchain
BRUSSELS, 29th JULY 2019 – A new project has been started that will solve the challenge of assuring the chain-of-custody of digital evidence across national borders within the EU. LOCARD is a 36-month project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (Grant Agreement nº 832735.).
The LOCARD project brings together 19 Consortium Partners representing law enforcement agencies (LEAs), academia, technology specialists and industry associations from across the EU, and is focused to address twelve stakeholder groups: LEAs, judges and lawyers; forensics laboratories; public authorities; victims; NGOs and voluntary organizations working in cybersecurity; business; media; academia; research centres; members of associated sister projects and consortia.
Digital evidence is now an integral and essential part of criminal investigations. Ensuring its integrity and availability to be submissible to a court of law to achieve a successful prosecution represents a major challenge that will escalate, as data sources and volumes continue to rise. Furthermore, the increasingly borderless nature of crime has created an urgent requirement for an infrastructure that makes it easy for law enforcement agencies to share digital evidence in a trusted, secure and legal way.
The LOCARD project will create a trusted and distributed platform for the secure storage of digital evidence metadata in a blockchain. In doing so, it will provide chain of custody assurance along the entire forensic workflow that not only guarantees information relating to evidence cannot be tampered with, but also allows interoperability without the need for a trusted third party.
The primary goals of the LOCARD project are to:
- Manage an immutable chain of custody of the digital evidence for every crime under investigation.
- Enable the usage of live-streaming data as evidence.
- Assist the international usage of digital evidence through ease to export and re-use of digital evidence in the corresponding format and automated filling of the forms/documents.
- Empower victim organisations to monitor the progress of their digital investigation in real-time.
- Provide investigators with offline tools that will assist them to collect multimedia evidence from media.
- Increase security of the platform by the integration of modules in a Trusted Execution Environment.
- Create the proper commitments per involved entity to handle the digital evidence accordingly.
- Provide investigators with online crawlers that will effectively detect deviant behaviour in online content
- Enable investigators to tag possible malicious activities/transactions etc, in data streams and receive notifications once alert criteria are met in processed data streams
- Enable investigators to publish anonymised data that can be used to find correlations and identify campaigns.
- Provide an infrastructure that could be used to store all digital evidence and handle its use in a court.
- Give citizens the ability to report malicious online events.
Published by EEMA. July 2019.