Major Italian News Agency Uses Blockchain-Based Label To Verify Origin Of Articles | Proskauer – Blockchain and the law

Italy’s leading news agency Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA), which represents 24 major Italian newspapers and distributes over 3,000 news articles daily, announced in early April that it had started using a running blockchain-based solution. on the public Ethereum blockchain to verify the origin of news articles that appear on ANSA’s platforms or are disseminated on other sites, such as social media pages. Stories actually sourced from the ANSA platform (without modification) now carry a green “ANSAcheck” digital certificate that informs readers that the previous story is a verified ANSA news article and is not manipulated or falsified content or a story that has been altered to disseminate disinformation. (An image of the ANSAcheck stamp is below; for an example of a certificate on the Internet, search for the digital stamp at the end of this ANSA story).

As part of the ANSAcheck program, each ANSAcheck news item is reduced to a cryptographic hash using EY OpsChain traceability technology and stored as a digital token on the Ethereum public blockchain. When a reader opens an ANSA story on a web browser, the browser compares the text of the article with the parameters saved on the blockchain and displays the ANSAcheck digital seal if there is a match. If you click on it, the digital seal displays some data, such as the story’s published date and other block information, as well as an ANSA certificate, an example of which is shown below.

ANSA check certificate

ANSA Check certificate block information

It is important to note that the digital seal only verifies that the story is from ANSA, has not been modified, and has been published on a particular date. It does not assert the veracity or “fact-checking” of the text of the original article itself. The impetus for the deployment was to root out cases of false stories about the COVID-19 outbreak that deceptively bore the ANSA newswire signature in an attempt to deceive readers into believing they came from from a legitimate source. Of course, disinformation spread by trolls and bots online and on social media is a constant concern, so solutions like ANSAcheck will continue to be important in the future, including in the fight against deepfake videos. So projects like the News Provenance Project, which would use an authorized blockchain to provide readers with a way to verify the source of news photos, are not surprising.

During the COVID-19 health crisis, it is especially important for readers to be able to get information from trusted sources, and the ANSAcheck solution is a way to identify verified sources of information.

The combination of smart contracts and blockchain technology has created new opportunities for doing business, including innovative ways to improve traceability, not only in the context of news and media, but also in others. areas where verifiability and transparency are important. For example, blockchain is currently being tested to trace the provenance of goods like sustainably sourced coffee and to create efficiencies by sharing supply chain event data with parties involved in shipping. international container. For a more in-depth look at legal issues in these areas, please see our Practice Notes, Blockchain and supply chain management and Best practices: smart contracts. While tracing goods in the supply chain from their source to the international shipping and customs process is more complex than verifying the source and the text of a news article posted on the Internet, principles similar are at work. In both cases, a blockchain solution allows parties to track and trace items (in this case, press articles) and obtain a secure and validated record of their provenance. In the current pandemic, blockchain is being explored for applications in virus response, such as the potential to help connect medical providers with necessary equipment during the COVID-19 outbreak and possibly the ability to produce reliable COVID-19 vaccination passports stored on the blockchain. Since the blockchain has been dubbed the ‘trusted machine,“It’s no surprise that ANSA is using technology to verify the origin of news online and give readers the confidence that they are watching the news from a trusted source.

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