Guarding The “Right to Be Forgotten” In the Era of Blockchain

To defend the human autonomy in this technologically advanced age of Big Data, we bring you the emerging trends from the nascent Blockchain industry.

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Guarding The _Right to Be Forgotten_ In the Era of Blockchain
Safeguarding the “Right to Be Forgotten”

Over the past year, there’s been a lot of flimflam about blockchain. Best known as the technology that shores up Bitcoin; blockchain has started to unsettle other industries, for instance, energy trading, supply chains and the list goes on…

One of the major points of blockchain is that the data once added cannot be removed or altered. Although this point makes blockchain reliable, it poses a problem in the time where privacy laws demand the companies scrap their customers’ data from the database once they are done with the data. This law is known as “right to be forgotten” in some prerogatives.

A group of researchers have invented a blockchain wherein users can scrap their data from the database without committing sacrilege to the blockchain’s consistency.

Currently, the Internet of Things devices market is swelling, from smart energy meters and voice assistants to self-driving cars and smart homes. Since the data is progressively being stocked up on blockchains, the tension between the right to be forgotten and blockchain is ever increasing.

  1. How blockchain works

At its crux, blockchain is a databank that is conjointly supervised by a various set of participants.  So, whenever a new data is added to the database, all the members must agree for the data verification, thus removing the requirement for a third-party like the bank to verify the transactions.

  1. Regulatory challenges

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the digital economy propped up by the blockchain are at the logger’s heads.

The GDPR necessitates the companies holding people’s data to erase it once the data has served its purpose meaning that people can delete their data from the third-party databanks after a time period.

However, blockchain being inflexible poses as an obstacle to putting that right into effect.

  1. Risks to privacy

Let’s consider you live in a smart home that uses sensor data to monitor your abode’s security. You possess a home insurance policy and to receive the lower premiums. Therefore, you allow your security sensor data and smoke alarm data to be documented on a blockchain.

This data can be retrieved by the insurance company, the fire department, and the police so that they can inspect any security events or smoke alarm. And once the insurance period has ended, you can remove your security data from the blockchain to boost your privacy.

In case if you leave your data for an indefinite period, the gamble of data being pinpointed as yours and your activities being traced by anybody with an access to the blockchain amplifies.

A blockchain applicant uses one or more than one public keys as its identities. Because there is no direct link between the real participant identity and the public key, the transactions are stored namelessly. However, a contravention of identity in any of the transactions—for example linking the transaction content to other known data about the user—results in the user’s interaction of all devices that are stored in blockchain to be traced by all blockchain members.

  1. Removing data without breaking the chain

Talking about user privacy, removing data from the blockchain without actually “breaking the chain” will add the cherry on the cake. It would be further advantageous to bank storage space on servers storing blockchain ledgers.

As of now, without breaking the blockchain’s consistency, a user cannot remove his/her data. Researchers have come up with a breakthrough that makes removing your detailed transaction data from blockchain databank—without actually removing the inspecting trace that the transaction ever took place—possible.

Memory Optimized Flexible Blockchain enables you to briefly summarize, store or wholly delete your transaction details from blockchain without disturbing the blockchain’s consistency.

The left-over trace of the data or its hash on the blockchain can still be utilized in the future if ever a dispute over what happened arises.

This line of attack provides you with complete administrative control of your blockchain-stored data. Without sacrificing the ability to audit the data in the future, the approach makes it feasible for you to summarize or remove this data.

  1. Reclaiming privacy and control

This novel approach can potentially run o’er any prevailing blockchain solution without affecting the blockchain consistency. The links among the block chains are preserved through hash functions, even though the specific blocks are summarized or removed from the chain. In a nutshell, the traces of blockchain entry remains though the bag containing data can be let go.

If truth be told, as long as the removed data is stored confidentially outside of the blockchain, the data’s legitimacy can be autonomously verified later by paralleling it against the blockchain’s hash. As follows the user can reclaim control of data shared in the past and exercise the “right to be forgotten” in the era of the blockchain.

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