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European Commission to Use Blockchain to Curtail Fake News

According to a recently published press release by the European Commission (EC) on 26 April, the European Union (EU) executive plans to employ distributed ledger technology (DLT) to fight so-called “fake news”, the transmission of false information online.

The EC’s first step will be to introduce a plan as part of what will become the “Code of Practice on Disinformation”, an EU-wide program scheduled for publication by July 2018.

The commission says blockchain applications can help provide transparency, reliability, and traceability of news on the internet. It also added that DLT can be combined with other identification processes:

“Innovative technologies, such as blockchain, can help preserve the integrity of content, validate the reliability of information and/or its sources, enable transparency and traceability, and promote trust in news displayed on the Internet.”

The press release is a response the commission’s recent High-Level Expert report which revealed a need for more transparency online in order to fight the current surge of internet disinformation.

Earlier this year the EC announced the signing of a declaration to create a European Blockchain Partnership Initiative made of up 22 countries including Germany, France, and the UK.

A significant project is also underway is in the field of healthcare. The EU’s My Health My Data (MHMD) project “aims to use blockchain technology to enable medical data to be stored and transmitted safely and effectively”.

The latest plan to embrace blockchain technology to combat fake news can be seen as part of a larger plan to integrate fintech into the inner workings of EU administration. Vice president of the EC Andrus Ansip made a speech earlier this month urging EU governments to invest in blockchain technology both “politically and financially” as it emerges “out of the lab” and goes mainstream.

Blockchain development forms part of the EU’s research funding body Horizon 2020 Work Programme, and is considered by the EC as “the biggest EU research and innovation funding programme ever”. It is investing nearly EUR 80 billion of funding over seven years and promises “breakthroughs, discoveries, and world-firsts, by taking great ideas from the lab to the market”.

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