Blockchain Could Help Us Reclaim Control of Our Personal Data – HBR
Harvard Business Review in an article on its website has described how smart ledgers – possible through Blockchain technology – can return ownership and control of data to data owners. The article was released on October, 5.
Yahoo, Equifax, and Deloitte have all been hacked in the recent past and massive amounts of personal data compromised. These data breaches are major risks associated with a centralized data storage system – they are always targets of cyber-attacks. Successful attacks on these centralized systems can be devastating; Yahoo hack alone saw three billion customer accounts affected.
HBR believes that Blockchain technology can solve this problem. They have good reason too. Blockchain technology allows a mutual distributed ledger system. This secure and immutable ledger, according to HBR, is the key to taking back privacy of data.
According to the article, this technology will also change who benefits from personal data. The report suggests that in the current regime, everyone benefits from individual’s personal data – everyone but the individuals themselves. Starting with the government for tax purposes, to the private sector, retail shops, online shops, media firms, etc. With a smart Ledger system, the tables would be turned and owners of the data will benefit from their data.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]You can keep certified copies of identity documents, biometric test results, health data, or academic and training certificates online, available at all times, yet safe unless you give away your key. At a whole system level, the database is very secure.[/perfectpullquote]
Things are already changing
The post showed optimism as some organizations have already started making big moves to transition to a decentralized system. It cited Estonia’s new identity system, ID-kaarts which “provides its citizens with an all-digital government experience, significantly reduced bureaucracy, and significantly high citizen satisfaction with their government dealings”. Also, there is the State of Illinois’ pilot to test a blockchain-based birth registry/ID system. All these efforts would return value of data to data owners.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]This would also shift the responsibility for data. If you lost your cryptographic “keys,” then they would be truly lost and you would have to build your identity again. – Harvard Business Review[/perfectpullquote]
The article acknowledged that DLTs still have some technical challenges of their own, but insisted that it shouldn’t stop us from reclaiming control of our data.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]There will certainly be mistakes along the way, but how can we truly object to reclaiming control of our most private property — our personal data?[/perfectpullquote]