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Data privacy is perhaps the defining issue of modern internet regulation debates. Never before have people had so much information about all aspects of their personal lives online. The battle for control of this data in terms of monetization and other aspects is immensely complicated. This is because the various interests are literally vying for a stake in the future.
It goes without saying that despite some efforts and assurances from companies that you surrender your data to, privacy breaches are the order of the day. In the contemporary era of internet hacking, nefarious elements somehow find ways to stay ahead of companies’ security mechanisms. At times, companies are simply negligent or actually sell data to third parties as a lucrative commodity in modern marketing.
Similarly, users need accurate and secure storage services for their personal data. This is not always the case with the available cloud servers available. Needless to say, hackers can infiltrate cloud storage servers, as in the case of celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence whose nude images were leaked online. If this can happen to the high and mighty, what’s there to protect the average Joe online?
Facebook’s Role in the Awareness of Breaches
In terms of raw power from data control, Facebook is certainly an all-powerful entity among private actors. With a solid two billion customers who have a lot of personal data on the platform, Facebook has unparalleled data responsibilities.
Accordingly, the misuse and breaches of customers’ private data reports by this corporation were alarming to the world. The events, particularly in the lead up to and just after the 2016 election of Donald Trump, were most concerning. Facebook allowed third parties like Cambridge Analytica to access user data extensively. Thereafter, they were able to conduct targeted campaigning, bearing a result that is still contested.
Regardless, the fact remains that the sharing of personal data at the behest of a trusted corporation like Facebook was very irresponsible. If this were to continue, people across the globe would have their privacy infringed in very personal ways.
Since the revelations of such violations, efforts by individuals and in some cases regulators to promote data protection has grown. For example, the EU passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 to have data privacy regulations. The clamor for companies and websites to better secure customer data has gained some traction with this measure.
However, leaving the enforcement work to corporations is still a problem since companies are profit-seeking by nature. A corporation like Facebook makes the bulk of its revenue from advertising. It goes without saying that customer data is what guarantees the efficiency of this effort.
Therefore, efforts to secure customer data have to empower actual users better. The fact is that corporations simply can’t be trusted to police themselves. And what better way is there to return power back to users and promote transparency than decentralized solutions?
Blockchain as a Solution for Personal Data Security
This technology is versatile and efficient. It can allow users to independently store personal data and fully control how it is transferred to someone else. Moreover, the blockchain is trustless, meaning it eliminates reliance on all-powerful centralized entities. In general, the cryptographic encryption makes blockchain a transparent, immutable and decentralized solution.
As such, blockchain technology has tremendous benefits for all stakeholders. Users can leverage their computing space to store data across the network. Users also have the power to choose who sees their personal information and how much of it can be accessed.
In other words, you have better control over the monetization of your data. Blockchain technology, therefore, eliminates the sale of personal data without the knowledge of its owners.
These possibilities are also helpful for government entities that have to release digital documents. Blockchain tech can standardize and speed up the issuing, updating or withdrawing the documents.
Moreover, it can ease KYC processes for suppliers of goods and services. Instead of providing a torrent of documents, supply chain providers can simply leverage blockchain to streamline the process by using blockchain to store a complete set of required standardized digital documents. Accordingly, verifying partners and customers becomes faster, making KYC processing immediate.
At the moment, IBM, which has conducted extensive blockchain research, is also working on this. The tech giant is developing a Trusted Identity solution in collaboration with the Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Implementing Such Curtailing Solutions
Using a digital identifier eases engagement on the blockchain. In a scenario where everywhere uses a digital identifier, decentralized power reverts back to the people, ensuring a future with more secure and confidential handling of customer data. Furthermore, people can share the benefits from the monetization of their data. Moving forward, this is absolutely the way to go. In the era of big data, blockchain solutions are essential to bringing true privacy compliance to the internet.
Bockchain startups are in the process of leveraging the technology to this end, allowing its community to create a personal data ecosystem where users can share and sell their data as they see fit. This is the essence of distributed computing.
The Tide Foundation is one such company building a community-driven personal data ecosystem. As such, users get a decentralized entity for safe storage, sharing and trading of personal data. The platform achieves this by giving users control over encrypted personal data.
Similarly, the Secure Key service uses blockchain to efficiently store your passport data. This way, you can confirm your identity for governments and other suppliers. The company has actually been around since 2008 but now leverages the IBM blockchain to meet identification needs.
The Sovrin Foundation uses blockchain for a similar purpose but in a slightly different dimension. The company gives users the ability to create personal identifiers that can be anything from a plane ticket to a driver’s license.
Alternatively, ClearGDPR is a platform that allows users to install on-premise or in the cloud. This means that you have a regulatory complaint blockchain tool for your records. These companies are a few among several leading lights in the blockchain-driven quest for data privacy.
In a nutshell
Data protection using blockchain technology is not only convenient but also a necessity. Decentralized storage can be an excellent antidote to this era of mass data privacy violations. Moreover, users can actually benefit from the commercial possibilities of monetized data. Gaining power over how and to whom a user can share or sell their own data is a clincher, ensuring a future where individuals control their private data better and where everyone can take part.
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