How Blockchain Can Impact Data Security

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Another day, another data breach. Here’s how blockchain can help.

Data security  

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The internet of information, spawned in the late 1990s, was a fantastic innovation that allows for the free and near instant transfer of data. This facilitated the introduction of new business models, and the ability for businesses to easily scale globally. One important property of the internet is openness.

 

“The technical founders of the Internet repeatedly remind us that the architecture of the Internet is based on openness – the Internet is open because it uses free, publicly available standards that every single one of us can access and use to create and build new ones. Through this openness, anyone, anywhere in the world, is able to launch innovative applications and services and create new business models that can revolutionize the way the world communicates and users interact. This openness promotes competition and trust, whilst enabling investment and innovation.”

Source: project-disco.org

 

However, openness has its drawbacks. The major problem with the current internet stack is network security and data ownership. When you visit a website and give out information, it is extremely difficult to figure out where that information goes, and who has access to it. Did the information I sent over the internet get intercepted by a hacker? Is the company that I sent my data to keeping it secure? These questions are currently almost impossible to answer. In fact, it may be in FANG’s best interest for the internet to operate that way.

The world has shown us, time and time again, that companies cannot be trusted with personal data. On September 28, 2018, Facebook’s user data was compromised, exposing 50 million users. This topic was serious enough for the government to consider stepping in, as it is clear that Facebook cannot protect its users information.

Diagram showing the problem with internet security

On December 3rd, 2018, Quora, worth around $1.8 billion, announced a similar issue. Account information and non-public content was exposed by a malicious third party.

Email from Quora about a data breach

It is clear that even the companies with the highest market capitalizations, and arguably the most sophisticated software and talent, cannot keep our data safe. So, how do we fix this problem?

I’m not an internet security expert, but I’d bet that the solution lies at the protocol layer of the internet, not the application layer. When we send information across the internet, a copy of the data is made and we lose the ability to track it. A blockchain-based data security system can help solve this problem; blockchains are great at tracking proof of data transfer. For example, when you send data on a blockchain, the transfer is auditable, and the ledger knows to subtract the balance from one account and add it to the other. It is important to point out that there is more than one way blockchains can solve this double spend problem. Bitcoin uses an unspent transaction output(UXTO) system, while Ethereum uses an account/balance model.

Lumeos promises to solve the data privacy issue by allowing users to own and control their own information. Built on the EOS blockchain, Lumeos enables users to monetize their data only if they choose to do so, creating a data marketplace in the process. The team also promises the ability to import data from existing social media sites, which will likely be how they will bridge the gap between the internet of information and the internet of value.

If not Lumeos, someone stands to gain massive adoption from creating a workable solution to the massive problem of data privacy.

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