University of Surrey Announces Blockchain for Video Archives

University of Surrey blockchain video archives

A leading U.K. university has unveiled plans to secure national video archives on blockchain, in order to safeguard media against tampering.

The Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing (CVSSP) at the University of Surrey announced it was working with the National Archives and the Open Data Institute in the U.K. to develop a “highly secure, decentralized computer vision and blockchain-based system.”

Known as Archangel, the platform is being developed to ensure the integrity of National Archives film for the future, leveraging the immutability of blockchain records in securing video media.

The model will work by “fingerprinting” video files with data that is then recorded on a blockchain, thereby preventing distortions of original archive footage.

Professor John Collomosse, the project lead, described the technology as one that “essentially provides a digital fingerprint for archives, making it possible to verify their authenticity.”

Modifications to the records stored on the platform are automatically flagged in the case of both intentional and unintentional modifications, with “proof of authority” technology backing the authenticity of originals.

According to a statement from the university, this should protect the records from being modified, ensuring historical records stored on the platform remain in their original state.

“Everyone can check and add records, but no one can change them. As no data can be modified, the integrity of the historical record remains intact.”

The technology has already been trialed in a number of similar use cases, including trials in the U.K., as well as in Estonia, Australia, Norway and the U.S.

The system is due to be presented at a conference in Los Angeles next month, and could eventually become even more widespread in protecting historical archive media more generally.

In a statement, the Open Data Institute said the technology was an important protection against the manipulation of digital records, which it predicted would become a growing problem in the years to go.

“It is becoming easier and easier to manipulate digital records, which makes it crucial for the institutions who take care of those records to be able to demonstrate their trustworthiness.”