Rising Blockchain Embrace Pivotal to Data Privacy in China?
Issues surrounding where the line is drawn for service providers when it comes to data privacy has been topical of late across several sectors and regions of the world including China.
Globally, the call to respect the human right to privacy has been consistently loud with measures such as new laws being introduced to safeguard users from their data being exploited especially by tech companies that have profited from selling data-collecting devices to users or from simply collecting users’ data for sale to third parties.
However, with 2020 dubbed the year of data privacy, more measures are expected to be introduced by governments and organizations even as it is clear that the burden of protecting data still lies with the consumer despite tech companies’ claims they have now enabled the transparency of data.
China produces huge amounts of online data with less protected. From facial recognition surveillance to picture and text scan in Xinjiang, the massive data collection has lead to an uptick of data leaks. These developments could have added to the factors that made four Chinese government departments, including the cyberspace administration jointly published a document defining six ways of illegally collecting and using user information. The new rules are to address the lack of standardization when it comes to the illegal collection and use of personal data by app developers. The country also recently expanded IP definitions to include big data and blockchain.
These new rules which include frowning at collection of user information not related to the service provided, require app developers to publish service regulations, identify the rationale and methods of data collection, and obtain users’ consent before sharing their personal information are meant to enhance regulation in the industry.
Looking at the future of data privacy and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) as impossible to be separated, the co-founder of CRUXPay, Ashish Singal, believes blockchain is leading the discussion on privacy and data security and can provide the needed security for data which will always be at risk of hacking and exploitation so far it is protected by a single source.
China has grown in its innovation research and funding of blockchain projects. In fact, the country is being debated to be the leader with this emerging technology based on its embrace and projected infrastructure development. The outlook of a wider adoption with time in China could play out the Indian hacker’s submission that blockchain is a potential solution for big tech’s continuing privacy and security issues as it is already being seen in the growing number of big tech companies using blockchain for privacy.
“For example, IBM recently filed a patent for a blockchain-based system that will secure data used in drones,” Singal says. “With increasing concerns globally over data security and privacy and authorities bringing in stringent rules around how data can be shared with stakeholders, blockchain seems to be the only answer for these large tech companies. Take the example of General Motors which recently filed a patent for a system where a self-driving car’s data stored on a distributed ledger can be shared with other stakeholders in a secure manner.
“Blockchains like Ethereum, Blockstack, Tron allow anyone to build applications with data security built within the apps by default. Companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Google have recognised the need for DLTs and its benefits and are now providing services to build decentralised apps using their infrastructure.”