Application of permissioned block chain technology on population data consolidation and sharing
Omoka, Richard Siang'ani
MetadataShow full item record
Population registers should provide the single source of truth for data regarding each resident of a jurisdiction of the register, over the lifetime of the individual. This data can then be shared and used by government agencies and private organizations regarding matters concerning the individual. In Kenya, however, data regarding an individual is collected by multiple government agencies resulting in duplication (of effort and data) and data inconsistency. The multiple collections of population data result in an individual having multiple valid identification documents. The use of relational database management systems, which have shortcomings in support for temporal data as well as no inbuilt security and auditability capability makes relational database management systems ineffective in the storage of population data. Lack of clear policy and standards; interoperability issues and data security are among the challenges affecting data sharing among government agencies. Blockchain technology, a shared, immutable, distributed ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network, is a promising technology in the management of population registers. Blockchain technology has inbuilt capacity to solve most of the problems inherent in the current systems especially duplication, tampering, and sharing of data. This research, therefore, through the development of a prototype based on permissioned blockchain technology, explores the viability and validity of permissioned blockchain technology, in storing, securing, auditing, and sharing of population data to achieve the single source of truth of the population register. The prototype, implemented using a local installation of hyperledger fabric, enabled consolidation of data since all invited participants on the permissioned blockchain network were able to write data to the single blockchain. The invited participants were also able to read data off the chain based on defined access control rules therefore achieving a uniform standard for data sharing. Provenance, a key quality of blockchain was leveraged to track an individual’s data changes over time, with the current block holding the latest records about the individual, yet still maintaining the historical chain of an individual’s data changes. This was a key outcome especially because it solves the inability of relational database systems to support temporal data. This model for data consolidation and sharing was found to be simple in design and implementation since it provided a standard way of reading and writing data to the chain through the use of RESTful APIs.