Amid roiling protests over the police killing of George Floyd, activist-coders have launched a decentralized protocol to document police misconduct reports, which are usually difficult to obtain.
is designed and built on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) and the Ethereum blockchain, so it can’t be shut down by any central entity. The aim is for civilians and police officers to file misconduct reports in an anonymous and searchable way. By giving people anonymity, the organizers hope to give officers a way to break the “blue wall of silence,” or police culture that discourages officers from reporting each other.
“This protocol is meant to enable anyone to create a gateway/front end and let anyone log complaints. If a police officer wishes to report misconduct anonymously, that is better for everyone because, as I understand it, police are supposed to serve their communities and reporting the misdeeds of their colleagues is part of that service,” said the creator of the PAN protocol, who preferred not to give his real name but identified himself by the pseudonym Fred Hampton. (Fred Hamptonwas a Black Panther activist who was killed by law enforcement in 1969.)