The rise of popularity on blockchain technology could become a resolution to many of the problems that face us today such as tracking and identifying property owners following natural disasters. In fact, there are many way that blockchain could make our lives simpler including bank transactions and voting in elections.
The change coming to blockchain
It’s well known by now that blockchain is not only the foundation of cryptocurrencies, but also plays a big part in solutions revolving technology around the world. However, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation could soon put a squash on that.
Unless you have been living under a blockchain rock over the past few years, you are probably aware that the public ledger of blockchain makes it near impossible for data to be changed- although this new law will make it that individuals can alter or delete said data.
The public key is what makes blockchain so reliable- the fact that it cannot be changed. But now, EU is requiring that individuals be able to remove their data upon request. Kind of contradicting, don’t you think?
Private VS Public Blockchains
Reports indicate that there are only two types of blockchain which are a private permission and public permissionless. Private blockchains seek to ease transactions. Within a private permission blockchain, there does hold a possibility that the data can be changed, however since public permissionless blockchains play by different rules, they cannot be altered. There would be no true way for a public blockchain information to be changed.
The GDPR was written assuming there is access rights to user’s data, completely contradicting the definition of “permissionless” blockchains. The GDPR would like for the data to be regulated however, this sort of technology was not meant for that regulation- meaning it could not be possible for the two to coexist.
Blockchain is a responsible party for the information it contains, in return making it difficult to obtain censorship over this data. One way around this conundrum would be to put hashes (mathematical derivations of data that, if properly implemented, cannot be reverse-engineered to expose the data that’s being represented) of personal data into the blockchain instead of using the personal data itself. In this case, data can be deleted without altering a blockchain.
Unfortunately, technology will just have to deal with the new law and overcome the changes that are to come in hopes that hashes can be used to protect privacy of the data within the blockchain.