Is Police Starting To Use Blockchain To Protect Informants' Anonymity?

Blockchain, Technology, Exchange, Security

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The blockchain is the technology on which cryptocurrencies are built and the use of blockchain technology goes beyond just the creation and trading of digital currencies. Blockchain technology became popular with the advent of bitcoin which is the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. It did not take long before the world noticed the security advantages of the blockchain. Blockchain is rooted in principles that ensure trust in transactions as all transactions within each block of the blockchain is confirmed based on a consensus mechanism. The blockchain is nearly impossible to manipulate as no single user can change transaction records. The adoption of blockchain technology is so massive that even big companies like IBM, FedEx, and Walmart have integrated blockchain technology into their business models. And there are more and more crypto traders who started trading with a reputable cryptocurrency broker. It’s not only the big companies who take interest in the blockchain technology, but also the police are beginning to see how blockchain security features can help them achieve national security in a more effective and efficient way. One way the police are beginning to use the blockchain is for the protection of informants' anonymity. 

The Importance Of Informants' Anonymity

No matter how large a nation’s or region’s police force is, they can never catch some criminals without the help of informants. An informant is anyone that has high-level intel on a criminal case or criminal organization. Information is everything and the security forces can not achieve much without the help of informants. Sometimes, informants are criminals themselves that want to sign a deal and possibly stop their criminal activities. It is very obvious that an informant will become a target of the criminals they are providing information about if their identities are revealed. Hence, it is crucial for the police to maintain informants’ anonymity even after the criminal case is solved. Citizens are more likely to share information when they are assured that their lives will not be in danger of criminal attack. 

Now, the problem with this type of information sharing is that there is a possibility that informants’ testimonies can be altered either accidentally or by a double agent who is sympathetic to the concerned criminal(s). Information perversion is a far smaller concern when compared to the life-threatening danger an informant will face if his/her identity is leaked. In our opinion, it would be best if no one knows the identity of the informant, and the original information shared can not be edited by anyone (not even anyone in the police force). Fortunately, the blockchain can achieve high-level anonymity to protect informants' identities.

How Police Are Starting to Use Blockchain To Protect Informants’ Anonymity

The police in South India has launched an initiative to use the blockchain to protect informants’ anonymity. The South Indian police encourage anyone with information on idol smuggling or possession or sale of illicit antique idols to safely share information on the blockchain. This initiative gives room for complete anonymity where no one (not even anyone in the police) knows the identity of the informant. According to South India’s Director General of Police, Jayanth Murali, “With blockchain, the public can make complaints anonymously and securely, ensuring they are not tampered with or altered”. This initiative is also backed by the belief that smart contracts make submitting complaints simpler and faster when compared to the traditional way of doing it. This will also facilitate faster response time to complaints, which in turn improves the overall efficiency of the police force. We believe the police force in other countries should also consider adopting the blockchain to increase the security provided to informants. 

Are Informant’s anonymity truly protected with the blockchain

Despite the numerous advantages of the blockchain, it is important to note that the blockchain is not perfect. In some ways, the blockchain is vulnerable to attacks from cybercriminals. Routing, sybil, phishing, and 51% attacks are some of the ways cyber criminals use to manipulate the blockchain and cause massive damage.

  • Routing attacks: A lot of real-time data transfer must occur for the blockchain to operate normally. This massive blockchain data is usually transmitted to Internet Service Providers (ISP). There are hackers who are skilled enough to intercept this data on the way to ISPs. This is called a routing attack and blockchain users are very unlikely to notice anything wrong.
  • 51% attacks: All public and private blockchain networks require mining power to operate normally. Ideally, miners in a network are people who operate independently. In a public blockchain network, unethical miners may be able to amass enough resources to control more than 50% of a blockchain network’s mining power to manipulate data. Private blockchains are not vulnerable to 51% attacks.
  • Sybil attacks: This is when cybercriminals introduce a massive amount of false identities into a target network in order to crash the system.
  • Phishing attacks: This is a familiar tactic of cybercriminals as they use this across all industries, not only the blockchain. The phishing attack is when scammers send convincing emails to crypto users asking for their wallet seed phrase or wallet credentials.

The above-listed tactics of cybercriminals should not cause any form of fear as it only gives information that helps organizations (including the police) to include advanced security features when building their own systems.


It is an indisputable fact that the blockchain has very advanced security and transparency elements. These unique features of the blockchain make it ideal for protecting police informants' anonymity. It is no surprise that the South Indian police have introduced a blockchain initiative that encourages anyone to share intel about criminal activities. Sharing intel on criminal activities is a very serious matter that could cause harm to the informant if his/her identity is leaked. This is why it is essential that the police adopt all necessary techniques to ensure adequate security for informants. Fortunately, the blockchain seems to be a perfect solution to protect informants’ anonymity as no one (not even anyone in the police) knows the informant’s identity.

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Disclaimer: This article is not investment advice.

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