On January 28, 2021, the European Union once again celebrated Data Protection Day. Created in 2006, the annual event seeks to inform and educate the public about their data protection rights. Event organizers also place a spotlight on how personal data is collected and processed.
Although the United States commemorates National Data Privacy Day on the same day, public awareness of the issue has only recently gained ground (particularly Facebook’s data privacy practices). And unlike the EU, US citizens must rely on a patchwork of state privacy laws for legal protection.
In the EU, data protection is also viewed as a fundamental human right. Indeed, the advent of Europe’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) in 2018 helped to solidify this view in many EU member states. Accordingly, Europeans may assert the right to access their own data and make needed corrections to it (or even delete such data). They may even object to receiving direct marketing materials.
Not incidentally, the GDPR is gradually becoming viewed as the de facto global standard with regard to data protection. As a result, it impacts many international policy debates. Its acceptance has influenced American corporate practices and public awareness as well.
Nonetheless, data protection concerns will likely mushroom in the next few years. The pandemic has certainly fueled such issues as teleworking, e-commerce growth, and infection traceability. The emergence of artificial intelligence will be especially problematic, as personal data concerns tend to be overlooked in the process. Blockchain technology is also problematic in this respect.
Data Protection & The Blockchain Dilemma
Although blockchain technology promises to usher in a trustless society, the technology itself appears to go against GDPR principles. Since public blockchain data is immutable, any personal data placed on it cannot be easily corrected or deleted. And while blockchain addresses are not linked to personal identity, any personal data placed on a blockchain is public. A technology solution to this dilemma has yet to be found.
Fortunately, XTRABYTES is creating digital ledger technology that may mitigate these concerns. The key is having a user-centered focus. XTRABYTES’ consensus algorithm (Proof-of-Signature) will enable individuals to store their data on a local device without revealing their data to the network.
More importantly, individuals will be able to share their personal data on a conditional basis (depending on the application) using strict access control (as determined by the data owner). That is, each data transaction will involve two separate and distinct actions: a transaction request and a transaction validation (accept or reject). XTRABYTES users may even be able to recall a transaction request in case of a data error. Likewise, the transaction’s recipient will be able to either accept or reject such a request as well.
Moreover, each individual data entry will enjoy its own protection (as well as the overall protection for all entries per specific time frame). XTRABYTES can achieve this because it will be decentralizing all of its network components. As such, it has no need to store, validate, or protect data in the same location.
Data protection is at the heart of what XTRABYTES is trying to achieve. Providing individuals with the capacity to privately store and grant conditional access to their data is the first step toward creating a more just, privacy-centric society.