Truthster, certifying the authenticity and consent of journalistic content with blockchain


  • software development

Truthster, certifying the authenticity and consent of journalistic content with blockchain

In the current journalistic landscape, there is a lack of simple and effective tools to certify the authenticity and integrity of content such as video recordings, interviews, and photos, as well as to collect consent from the interviewees.

Interviewed individuals are often unaware of their privacy rights and, consequently, unable to exercise them for legal claims in case of abuse by journalists.

The Truthster platform aims to address these problems by providing a tool for collecting consent and ensuring the authenticity and integrity of journalist content.

The Truthster Project

The Truthster project, named after the English words “Truth” and “Trust,” is a project coordinated by various individuals from both the private and public sectors. Personalities from the University of Udine, University of Perugia, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, innov@ctors s.r.l., and HTS – Hi-Tech Services, including the CEO and CTO, have collaborated on the “Truthster” project.

As mentioned earlier, the project aims to provide journalists with a simple digital tool to certify the authenticity and integrity of content, such as interviews, and to collect consent.

What are the advantages?

Truthster brings several advantages:

  1. Content certification allows for proving ownership rights in case of disputes.
  2. Traceability of consent collection prevents those who have given consent from opposing it later.
  3. Ease of use: the interface is designed to easily manage document archiving and simplify work processes.

How does Truthster work?

Truthster consists of three main components:

  1. The TruBlo project: an open-source platform that hosts the hardware and software of the project.
  2. A blockchain-based database where media content and collected consents are stored to create a certified database.
  3. A human component, composed of journalists and media professionals who are responsible for collecting consents and certifying content.

What are its foundations?

Truthster is built on five pillars:

  1. Interviews should not be conducted without the interviewee’s consent.
  2. The interviewee’s consent should be easily obtainable by the interviewer.
  3. Certification of multimedia content should be initiated by the interviewee in a simple manner, allowing for the expression of consent.
  4. Certification of multimedia content should include all relevant data (e.g., metadata) and should be performed by a decentralized platform (blockchain).
  5. Documentation of the interaction and certification should be available to both the interviewer and the interviewee.

What is the typical use case for Truthster?

The solution is primarily targeted at interviews (audio and video).

The user experience of its use is as follows:

  1. The interviewer records the audio or video material.
  2. The interviewer opens the mobile app, logs in, enters interview information and the interviewee’s contact details, and selects the interview file to certify.
  3. The app calculates a hash of the document and uploads it, along with the interview metadata and GPS location, to the cloud server.
  4. The entire document is uploaded in the background.
  5. The app sends a link to the interviewee via SMS/email (or generates a QR code with a link).
  6. The interviewee opens the link (or scans the QR code) on their phone and is shown a GDPR information notice to review and accept.
  7. After the contractual agreement, the interviewee’s GPS location is sent to the server.
  8. The hash, metadata, and consent for the interview are stored in the Alastria blockchain.
  9. The interviewer is notified of the completion of the process through a Node.js server that alerts the user when the process is complete.
  10. A history of conducted interviews, stored in the database, is available to the interviewer on their mobile app.

What technologies does Truthster utilize?

Truthster is based on a web/mobile app and its backend is a cloud-ready solution based on open-source and the Alastria blockchain.

It’s possible to download the Truthster paper by clicking the button below.