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Data Privacy Day 2020 | Emerging Tech Leaders Share Their Thoughts

China National Blockchain Launch

With the aim of raising awareness and promoting privacy and data protection best practices in over 50 countries worldwide, International Data Privacy Day will take place on Tuesday 28th January.

We asked a range of experts in distributed ledger technology about their opinion, with a focus on consumer privacy, data privacy regulation, exchange platforms and data breaches.

DATA PRIVACY REGULATION

Paul Madsen, Technical Lead at Hedera Hashgraph, an enterprise-grade distributed ledger platform, said:

“Entering into 2020, we can see the ongoing impact of data privacy regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Businesses have been forced to radically adjust their default models of aggressively collecting and storing users’ personally identifiable information (PII). These new regulations place strict requirements on businesses to respect users’ privacy, and stipulate significant punishments in the event of data mis-handling.  Distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) have the power to provide users with a decentralized digital identity, giving users greater control over the storage and management of their own PII. Decentralized digital identities shift the power from businesses to consumers.

As more businesses move toward user-centric, decentralized methods of data storage, and leverage DLT, the data functions of these businesses are transforming. While they will still be charged with issuing identities in many cases, the corresponding credential will be stored and managed by the user. The institution which once had a centralized power over consumer data can effectively be removed from any real-time participation in the use of that credential. 

Privacy is ultimately about giving users control over their identity attributes – specifically how that identity is collected, used, and shared. Decentralized identity models can empower users to take greater control over how and when they engage their data online, by leveraging a public DLT as a global, trusted discovery and revocation service. I believe that in the coming years and as data privacy regulations become more widespread globally, we will see an influx of large enterprises to the DLT space, seeking innovative solutions to give users back control of their data while upholding compliance with local data regulations.”

EXCHANGE PLATFORMS

Nick Cowan, CEO of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX) Group, said:

“As a regulated fintech ecosystem of financial and exchange services, we at GSX have key responsibilities in storing and securing clients’ personal data. The handling of information and our reporting requirements are woven into the fabric of our organisation, from AML/KYC practices to NDA’s or MOU’s, clients need to know their data is protected, secure, and compliant with GDPR practices. Our work in transforming capital markets utilising Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), and changing the way securities are traded, cleared, and settled has touched upon the usage of DLT for data security with its many efficiencies and solutions. We believe that these innovative and groundbreaking advancements in areas such as scalable compliance networks, on-boarding clients, and identity verification processes are only going to grow and will require the adoption of data privacy solutions.”

CONSUMER PRIVACY

Ashish Singhal, CEO and Co-Founder at CoinSwitch.co and CRUXPay, said,

“Our trust in consumer technology is corroding. Under the growing threat of fines and new privacy laws, tech companies have been forced into emphasizing how they now give us “transparency” and “control” over our data. Yet, as the 13th Data Privacy Day draws in, we are still living in a time, where the entirety of the burden of protecting one’s data lies with the consumer.

The next decade will see distributed ledgers move to the forefront of the discussion on privacy and data security. Google, Microsoft, and IBM have publicly endorsed blockchain technology for privacy solutions. As long as the data is protected by a single source, it will always be at risk of hacking and exploitation.

The right to privacy is a fundamental human right, but how do we ensure this is not compromised? Companies have to view this from the consumer perspective, taking into consideration the reputational damage caused by the flippant security procedures of the last decade, and understand that the measures they take to protect our data are part of how we’re going to judge them. Distributed ledgers will put the user back in the driver’s seat of their data and security -and by design, ensure user data is protected, give users ownership of their data, and deter hackers as there is no single point of attack.”

DATA BREACHES

Richard Williams, Information Security and IT manager, Solve.Care, said:

“The magnitude and frequency of consumer data privacy problems continues to grow year on year, with vast data breaches now a regular feature of the news cycle. Robust and up-to-date cybersecurity is the most effective form of preventing such data breaches. No matter the size of a business, the protection of customer data is tantamount and cannot be ignored or delayed until later.
The current global shortage of skilled cybersecurity personnel is one particular area of concern in the digital economy, with a recent study by (ISC)² finding a gap of almost 3 million cybersecurity jobs globally. The development of technologies currently in their nascent phase, such as Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, may prove to be innovative solutions to facilitate stricter compliance with data privacy regulations. Blockchain technology has been shown to be particularly adept in use-cases related to healthcare: cryptographically secure distributed ledger technology ensures that patient data is secure when records are shared with healthcare providers.”