US Customs and Border Protection to Test Blockchain Shipment Tracking System

One of the largest law enforcement agencies in the U.S., Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will launch a live test of a blockchain-based shipment tracking system, tech news and media agency GSN reports August 24.

In the upcoming test, the CBP will reportedly combine two separate systems: the CPB’s legacy application and a blockchain-powered platform developed by the agency’s parent body — and the country’s primary border control organization — the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The test results will determine how the distributed ledger technology (DLT) is able to enhance the verification process of certificates of origin from the partners of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central America Free Trade Agreement, as well as reduce the time-consuming procedure of the resubmission of shipping data.

While testing, the agency also intends to establish standards of interaction between different blockchains in order to ensure that all firms and software will be easily connected to customs without the need for additional customization.

Vincent Annunziato, director of CBP’s Transformation & Innovation Division, commented that at the moment various blockchain platforms are not compatible enough, stressing that ensuring data security is “of the upmost [sic] importance.”

The CBP is also reportedly developing a proof-of-concept scheme for dealing with intellectual property rights. At this point, Annunziato stressed that the successful testing of the blockchain project will enable consumers to define if a certain product is authentic or not.

According to GSN, the CBP is also now collaborating with blockchain startups such as Factom and the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) on another blockchain project to combat the interception of data from sensors and cameras on the border. The project is reportedly at the stage of a six-month field test in Texas.

The DHS had previously announced that it is preparing to implement blockchain technology in securing the sharing and storage of data collected by security cameras, sensors, and internal data bases in early 2017, in a move to prevent manipulation of data and potential hacking attacks on devices operating on the borders and airports.

Earlier this month, tech giant IBM and Danish transport and logistics giant Maersk launched a joint blockchain-based shipping project, “TradeLens,” with 95 organizations involved and 154 million shipping events shipping events already captured.

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