The US government’s most sensitive data could soon be secured on blockchain platforms, according to revelations from Microsoft this week.
The blockchain, which powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether, is a distributed ledger, allowing data to be recorded on a network infrastructure spread across a decentralized network.
In much the same way as this structure provides strength to bitcoin as a currency, government sources could soon be relying on the immutability, and the decentralized nature of blockchain technology to protect vitally important national secrets.
The news emerged from Microsoft’s Government Cloud Forum event, which was held in Washington DC this week, where the tech giants announced Azure Government Secret – a new blockchain technology protocol designed for this specific use case.
Government Secret is designed to encourage governments to make better use of cloud computing, including in crucial security applications. Most notably, the technology opens up access to the Microsoft Azure blockchain platform, which could pave the way for a data security system operated on the distributed ledger.
Further, it was revealed that no fewer than six Microsoft data centers have been isolated, pending clearance from the Department of Defense, in what would be an essential precursor to using the technology for securing government secrets.
Addressing the use case, Microsoft’s Mark Russinovich said the project would also enable the government to be more efficient on a number of measures, as well as creating an additional mechanism for accountability and transparency.
“Blockchain makes it much harder for fraud and waste to exist, makes it much more visible if it does exist and potentially gets rid of a lot of layers of bureaucracy that are designed simply to ensure that waste and fraud [don’t] exist.”
The Government Secrets platform has been specifically developed for use by the US government, but Microsoft’s wider government cloud services already take in some 7,000 agencies worldwide.
Should the move towards blockchain data security find favor in the hands of US authorities, it could spark a chain reaction of governments worldwide turning their attention increasingly towards the technology in the months and years to come.