GDPR and Blockchain: Three Projects Seeking to Decentralize Data Protection
Whether you’ve been keeping track of the news or are a citizen within the European Union yourself, there is a great chance that you have noticed the recent discussion regarding the newly implemented GDPR (or ‘General Data Protection Regulation’) in the bloc.
The rules came into effect this year alongside the recent vote in favor of implementing stricter copyright laws pertaining to intellectual property and ‘memes’ and has caused a fair bit of controversy, alongside the recent worldwide events including the USA, and their repeal of ‘Net Neutrality’ laws across the entire USA.
Image source: Forbes.com
Advertising, Big Data and You
For a wide range of reasons, digital advertising is a huge industry – being near-perfect solutions for digital, web-based organisations which are seeking to maximise their revenue / profits, whilst minimising expenses.
A common phenomenon affecting advertising is ‘Big Data’, where user information is collected and processed through complex artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.
Your usage of internet technology more likely than not creates an endless trail of digital footprints, which are gathered and interpreted by companies and their systems to provide and interpret detailed insights on user habits.
Data Protection Rights
GDPR is meant to result in transparent and honest interactions between consumers, big data companies, and even social media companies such as Facebook now face the challenge of how to market or rebuild trust with consumers. Though there is still a myriad of concerns amongst consumers regarding how companies will approach this.
Implementation of GDPR has caused quite a shakeup for the AdTech industry, with users are being given total control over how much data websites and applications can collect about them.
Now users can consent to which cookies web operators have access to, but there are still several ways for big data to continue to profit from your data without cookies. Methods such as incoming IP tracking scripts, Browser Fingerprinting and malware-infected websites are commonplace and could prove more malicious than previous methods.
Can Blockchain Further Increase Data Privacy?
Technology has already empowered websites visitors with the ability to overcome issues such regarding data privacy and invasive advertising tactics.
‘Adblocker’ for example is a web-browser extension which automatically removes almost all adverts from a website, and just like ‘NoScript’ (removing potentially malicious scripts from pages) has been utilised by software such as Tor Browser to achieve thorough user safety and anonymity.
Through these kinds of solutions, blockchain or not, website operators are going to be encouraged to increase the quality and value of content on their pages.
Considering such software and the exponential growth of blockchain as an industry, it is of little surprise that we have seen an influx of services, products and ICOs which seek to combine the benefits of these technologies with those of blockchain / cryptocurrency.
Here are a few of what we consider to be the most interesting in the present crypto space…
Image source: Online.io
The Online.io project financially rewards website operators in a ‘proof of online’ system which essentially quantifies the time spent on each website and rewards website operators appropriately. It is also the only project in this article which we haven’t reviewed on this site so far (although I wouldn’t count it out for the near future, so watch this space!)
Their proprietary crypto-coin (OIO) will be used to distribute rewards to all parties based on visitor time-spent, bounce-rate and other established metrics. This presents a fascinating opportunity for website owners to still effectively monetize their website in compliance with GDPR and without the need to utilize other means of data collection.
Online.io could somewhat be considered a democratized system, as users rank each website based on their experience. The highest rated websites will be rated higher in ‘Trust’ through an algorithmic formula, which acts as an indicator of website quality for future visitors.
It’s likely to continue delivering a highly positive boost to the whole ecosystem as consumers now (especially millennials) would rather get rid of traditional advertising methods: hence ad-skipping buttons on YouTube as well as Ad-blockers and anti-tracker software.
2. Peer Mountain
A blockchain based project which seeks to connect so called “self-sovereign ID holders with businesses, enabling commerce at scale” by utilising technological solutions like smart contracts.
Peer Mountain is unique for providing customers (a private individual / citizen) with a greater level of confidence when looking to access a product or service – no matter where they are, or what their country of origin may be.
To the organisations taking part, budding entrepreneurs worldwide, a whole new market audience is available. A mutual benefit which is equally enjoyed by the ‘self-sovereign ID holder’ too – incentivised by not having to register their private information on a host of centralized servers.
The security is achieved through use of innovative code: which makes use of a combination of user-experience solutions, with the innate security benefits of distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrency.
This team has put all its efforts into creating a ‘mobility’-focused solution which incorporates “a unified token, wallet and marketplace for earning and spending mobility related rewards”. By mobility, what they are referring to is of course transportation related activities: such as ride-sharing and courier services.
In this instance however, it also applies to mobility information – and how it is bought and sold in the data economy.
Unlike the other solutions listed, DOVU aims to resolve the contentious issue of data privacy by allowing service providing companies make direct offers to users of its ecosystem in return for a quantity of the platform’s proprietary token.
Key use cases and clients pegged to take advantage of this platform include automotive manufacturers and marketing organisations for use in big-data research and algorithmic insight / report generation.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.