Could Blockchain Solve Our Growing Privacy Issue?

May 23, 2022
4 min read

Blockchain has been a controversial topic. It seemed like it would be the answer to every business and technology problem for a while, and then it seemed like plans for the technology had quieted down. Although IBM has remained upbeat on the technology, it wasn't until recently that Microsoft, Amazon, and Samsung launched their blockchain services. As a result, blockchain is experiencing a rebirth, even though technology has yet to realize its full potential. Although blockchain has enormous potential, there are still numerous doubts about its widespread adoption. Personal and data privacy is one area where blockchain's ramifications have piqued my interest.

Blockchain, according to experts, might eventually replace usernames and passwords by providing us with individualized, encrypted digital identities that we can use to handle everything from internet data to medical records. Furthermore, due to its immutability, that information will stay safe and secure. That's how personal privacy protection with blockchain might work in theory. But are we ready for blockchain to enable everyone to establish their digital watermark? Can we rely on it to protect our personal information?

Growing Private Concerns

Since the internet entered the academic mainstream, there have been privacy worries. Those who warned us about its dangers were rejected for decades as doomsday prophets, crazed maniacs crying in the bush. Then, people like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden appeared and transformed the game out of nowhere.

Following Snowden's revelations, concerns about privacy and big brother internet surveillance have increased. In addition, many internet users worldwide are now concerned about the "peripheral" issues mentioned by the "prophets of doom" so long ago.

The main issue for every worried user is: what can I do to preserve my privacy in that case? As a result, utilizing a VPN is one of the most prevalent responses (even the Pirate Bay's website urges visitors to use a VPN these days). So it's no wonder that the VPN market has grown rapidly in recent years.

Can Blockchain Help Solve Our Privacy Concerns?

Yes, it is likely. It includes the seeds of the answer, allowing the fruit to resolve the problem in the future. As a result, the answer is yes, but only in the future.

However, even a year is just too long to wait with the current state of circumstances. The digital world is already moving too quickly. So, if we're searching for something to help us now, blockchain isn't the solution. Unfortunately, nothing other than the currently existing, unsatisfactory alternatives will assist us in bettering our privacy protection.

Personal Privacy Protection with Blockchain: Privacy vs. Protection

One of the most challenging aspects of using blockchain to develop personal privacy protection is that privacy and protection are not synonymous. The first step is the opportunity to choose whether or not a website collects data about the types of things we browse, the types of tunes we listen to, or the times of day we prefer to shop. Next, protection refers to how well data is secured after being collected. The user's right to privacy is the first part. Unfortunately, this is a frequently infringed right in today's digital age. The data gatherer's responsibility is the second. Of course, both privacy and security are critical, but blockchain excels in one area over the other.

Because the blockchain is immutable, a user will never be able to "delete" some elements of their personal history from the blockchain. This single issue violates the EU's General Digital Protection Regulation, which states that all users have the right to be "forgotten"—that is, the fact that I bought a specific book title on Amazon should not linger in the data ether indefinitely. But it would work with blockchain (and, to be honest, I've not convinced any system that genuinely asks for information to be forgotten). Because blockchain is wonderful for security but bad for privacy, it is more often used as a personal privacy insurance policy. Since the main sticking point is the ability to remove data entirely, I'm leaning toward a somewhat different concept: the option to choose when your data is used for a certain experience rather than being able to opt-out practically quickly. Blockchain might handle the subtlety of "easier on and off-ramps" for better data experiences.

Personal Privacy Protection with Blockchain

Data is valuable in today's industry. Every Google search, every online purchase, every time we use our valuable customer ID at the supermarket—all of this information is tracked because it is valuable to someone. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the network of billions of connected gadgets we'll all be sharing, we'll soon be offering exponentially more information about ourselves to anyone wanting to collect it. That is where I feel blockchain has the greatest potential for personal privacy protection.

The potential to enable consumers to choose the data they are prepared to share is represented by blockchain. They won't be able to delete data regarding their visits to select pornographic websites, so no. They could, however, disable access to that blockchain node to ensure that no one else is aware of the visit. (Until the blockchain is hacked at some point.) Because the blockchain, despite its great level of security, can still be hacked. And this is yet another area where personal privacy on the blockchain is still a challenge.

Conclusion

Blockchain technology is already in use in many fields. Several governments, for example, have implemented blockchain to reduce the need for centralized servers and improve data security. Keeping our data safe and secure has become increasingly important in this information age. However, as the world studies technology, which is still in its early stages, it remains to be seen how blockchain will help humanity.