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21 January 2020

Will Blockchain Stop Personal Data Leaks?

Will Blockchain Stop Personal Data Leaks?

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This means that, unless something changes, every sixth active user could lose control over their personal data.

“They aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they are using a stolen database with the personal data of everyone in the country.”.

The concept is as follows: Users store personal data locally on their devices, thereby contradicting the current paradigm of state-managed cloud-based registries with partially restricted access.

Service providers (web-services, governments, etc.) do not store personal data but can verify your digital identity at any moment when interacting with you.

In many cases, the data should not even leave the user’s device or be disclosed — but when disclosed, the agent receives only a fraction of the personal data required for the interaction in question.

To design this system, one needs a few things: a Merkle tree, where the leaves are hashes of personal data (name, birthday, address, photo, etc.) and the root, which is a cryptographic string signed by a trust service provider (TSP).

The scene at the store goes as follows: You take out your smartphone, open your identity verification app, and select which data you would like to disclose to the cashier's device.

No data except the root and the signature is stored on the blockchain — everything stays on your smartphone.

Of course, the seller may try to save your picture on their device, but we will discuss that later.

For example, you can have a root for proof of education, for which your educational institution will be the provider certifying your credits and graduation.

Pseudonyms can be linked via zero-knowledge protocols to a TSP’s signature, which means there is a digital proof that your identity is verified, but it is hidden from the web service.

There are many ways and schemes on how to protect identity, but the core idea is that all data should be under your control — in most cases, you shouldn’t have to disclose your data at all (by zero-knowledge proof protocols) and in some cases, you only need to partially disclose.

One day, it will be exposed, and you should count yourself lucky if that leak does not lose your money or threaten your life.

This statement may be mind-blowing for “pro-state” thinkers, but DID and Verifiable Credentials methods ensure Know Your Customer, or KYC, without exposing personal data.

And there is only one purpose for this: Whenever any company, bank or public servant wonders if it is a good idea to store someone’s personal data, they need to think very carefully about whether their reasons suffice, because we know that whenever personal data is centralized, it will inevitably be exposed someday. .

Every person should have the right to control the public availability of their personal data and to decide for themselves what they would like to share

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