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Blockchain Project for National Archives Reports Successful Trial for Audio-Visual Content


A blockchain project developed to safeguard the integrity and accessibility of digital government records of national archives worldwide will soon present the results of a successful trial deployment in the United Kingdom, Estonia and Norway. The news was revealed in an official press release published on May 29.

The project, named ARCHANGEL, involves the U.K. National Archives, the University of Surrey and the U.K. Open Data Institute, with funding from the The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Its trial deployment in the U.K., Estonia and Norway focused on leveraging blockchain and other technologies to tackle the long-term future of digital video archives.

In an academic paper to be presented at the CVPR 2019 conference in Los Angeles in mid-June, researchers from Surrey University’s Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP) outlined their successes in developing a tamper-sensitive and future-accessible architecture for archiving audio-visual content. The system was then secured using a proof-of-authority blockchain that is distributed across multiple independent archives.

In a statement for the press release, University of Surrey professor John Collomosse and ARCHANGEL principal investigator said that it is becoming increasingly critical that institutions are able to vouchsafe the provenance and integrity of archival materials to the public in a transparent manner, considering the vast volume of digital content accumulating in archives worldwide. He added:

“By combining blockchain and artificial intelligence technologies, we have shown that it is possible to safeguard the integrity of archival data in the digital age. It essentially provides a digital fingerprint for archives, making it possible to verify their authenticity.”

The press release notes that ARCHANGEL forms part of the Surrey blockchain testbed, which reportedly includes over £3.5 million ($4.4 million) of UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) and EU funded projects.

Professor Adrian Hilton, director of CVSSP, noted in his statement that the ambitious project represents a “great opportunity for the UK to lead internationally in application of distributed ledger technology to secure personal and national data archives.”

The press release further includes the national government archives of the United States and Australia as two places where the ARCHANGEL project has been trialled thus far.

As Cointelegraph reported last year, ARCHANGEL participants have previously stated their aim as being the “promise that no individual institution could attempt to rewrite history.”

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