Data | Ethics | Governance

The Principled Data News Review

The Mysterious World of Blockchain

References are getting more frequent, and more mainstream.  The PC Mag article above gives a pretty good overview of what is happening.

My interest in this technology is how it can be used to ensure integrity and track provenance of data.  Tied in with this is the ability for blockchain to verify identity – but this could end up as a privacy concern due to the difficulty in regulating a decentralised system like blockchain.

I suspect that regulation and international standards are what is required next.  Mostly as a way to build trust.  But also as a way to open up the developer space – they then have assurance about how the technology will work as well as an organised development cycle.

As one use case, blockchain could form as a basis for GDPR compliance.  Data protection measures can be integrated in a blockchain, and then verified by stakeholders (including regulators).  A key point here is the transparency of the process.  It isn’t enough for a data processor or controller to say they are compliant, their compliance is openly displayed through entries in the blockchain.  Further, the blockchain can ensure that data is more easily traced through business processes – a significant benefit to organisations.

Finally, I see a form of blockchain-based database as a way to bake privacy in to the data ecosystem.  The ideal being that sensitive data is rarely exposed in plain text.  Once homomorphic encryption improves in performance, I think it will become a viable option for enterprise use.

In the meantime, we just need to get educated on how the blockchain sector is developing and evolving.