Could blockchain become the main decentralized data storage and how it could help us protect our privacy?
Blockchain uses decentralized cloud storage which has many advantages compared to the traditional centralized cloud servers.
Our privacy is one of the most important factors. There are many reasons why privacy matters and why we should try to protect it. Privacy helps people maintain their individuality and autonomy. We are very sensitive when it comes to personal data since we use it to make very important decisions in our lives and we should not give more than necessary information to someone that could seriously damage our reputation. Also, personal data limits the government power over us because the less information they have about us, the less they can have control over us.
Why are we so exposed?
Nowadays it is impossible to not give away information about ourselves unless we do not use the internet at all. Today actually more than half of the world population uses the internet. According to statista.com, 4.54 billion people were active internet users as of January 2020, which is 59 percent of the global population.
We do so many searches on Google, we shop so much online, simply said we cannot even imagine our lives without the internet. We could say that the release of the social media platforms was the pivotal point where our privacy started fading a little. Most of us have different social media accounts where we share our information.
Also, e-commerce platforms played a huge role too, since we are obligated to share our information starting from identity, addresses, credit card numbers, etc. We are exposed to the point where people now are trying to restore their privacy using different platforms and services, such as a VPN service.
Could blockchain become our savior?
So what is blockchain doing now that it could help companies maintain secure records of their transactions?
Well, blockchain is a secure distributed ledger that is actually transforming businesses around the world. Blockchain first was used only as an infrastructure to trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. But now, blockchain has become integral to many companies since it offers an innovative appearance to execute transactions, store information, perform different functions, thus establishing trust in a very open scene.
Furthermore, businesses use private blockchains, or we could call them permission blockchains, where access is controlled strictly, meaning only authorized people from the company can use them.
So, companies hold their data such as detailed transactions, shipments, and customer information in blockchains.
Personal Data and Blockchain
Corporate blockchains most likely contain a lot of information about individuals. Let’s take as an example retailers. They capture data related to the preference of the customers. Things such as what they buy and how they pay for things they buy.
On the other hand, this is where blockchain contradicts the law since there are countries that have laws that enable citizens to find out the data that is being held about them. These laws allow citizens to protect their data from the misuse as well.
Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) allows EU citizens to see the information companies hold about them. In specific circumstances, they can request data erasement if they want to. It just makes things harder for the blockchain to keep private data private.
GDPR requires that when companies capture individual personal data the privacy of those individuals must be ensured. Blockchain does this by using pseudonyms, instead of using real identity. Meanwhile, to achieve confidentiality of transactions blockchain uses encryption of transactions payload that guarantees that the transaction data is only available to authorized parties.
Benefits of decentralized cloud storage
Blockchain uses decentralized cloud storage which has many advantages compared to the traditional centralized cloud servers. Immutability is something that does not allow anyone to take your file or restrict access since the file’s hash is kept in the ledger. Another winning thing about decentralized storage is that for those who have spare storage space such as hard drives or disks, they can rent it for a reward. Users can connect willing to share their storage space with the ones that need it.
Both decentralized clouds and traditional data solutions have their benefits. Traditional cloud servers have higher availability and speed but they do not store the data in one place, therefore, threatening its privacy and security. Nevertheless, decentralized cloud storage improves the security and privacy of users’ data by encrypting their files but it is slower.
Moreover, blockchain’s decentralized storages are not yet widely used as traditional centralized ones. As we mentioned above, both have their advantages and drawbacks but which one will take over, it is time that will tell us.
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