Data is everywhere. It’s on your desk, in the cloud, and on your phone. It’s tracked by marketers and used by doctors. Data has become more important than ever before, but our systems are still vulnerable to the same data breaches that have plagued us for years before blockchain was even invented.
It only takes one small gap in the system for all of that data to be like sitting ducks waiting on a hunt without any security protocols or thought-out plans–and it only takes one person with malicious intent to take advantage of those gaps to wreak havoc on all our data systems.
For every story about the potential of blockchain technology, https://fomoconews.com/ says there is another piece detailing how a major corporation or government agency has been hacked. In 2017 alone, 110 million credit cards were compromised , and the number of breaches has tripled since 2014 . In 2018, we can expect to see even more hacks as cyber-attacks become an increasing risk.
This isn’t a new problem
It’s been around for years – but with blockchain technology on the rise, the solution may lie in a more secure way of storing our data. Blockchain can be a solution to data breaches, but we need to address three major gaps first: trust, transparency and accountability.
Is it trustworthy? There is no such thing as trustless technology, and there’s no such thing as trustless data. Everything we do is contingent upon some type of belief we have in the system we’re plugged into. If we don’t believe in the message it sends, or that statements made on its behalf are truthful, then we won’t use that resource and will remove ourselves from the network as a result.
How do you know what’s happening? Transparency is important when it comes to any aspect of your life. You don’t want to walk into a restaurant and not know what you’re ordering, right? Likewise, you shouldn’t expect your most sensitive information to be put at risk without knowing exactly what kind of information is being collected and how it’s being used. You should be able to see how your data is being used (or as some experts put it, know where it’s going).
One of the most popular applications of blockchain is to allow for transparency of transactions, and many experts think that this will be the first major development in privacy since Satoshi Nakamoto published his whitepaper. This type of transparency also increases accountability – it allows everyone who uses a system to know exactly what they’re approving and what is being done with their information.
Who’s accountable? Accountability is important – you don’t want to hand over your information without being sure that everything you’re giving up is going to benefit you. Accountability may live inside the blockchain, but it can’t be regulated by it. A blockchain can’t make someone accountable, but the same type of decentralized structure that is used to manage transactions could allow for you to see how your data is being used. If someone wanted to use your data without your permission, you could trace it back through the network and find them within minutes. You would be able to hold people accountable for accessing your information because you’d know exactly who had done it.
We’re far away from the perfect system, but blockchain is getting us closer to a solution to our data security problems. Blockchain can connect consumers and companies not only through the transaction, but also by using their data for good.
Transparency and accountability
Creating a more secure future requires that we start thinking about blockchain as something that will help us establish trust, transparency and accountability – all of which are necessary for any company to succeed – and not just as something we can use to make money. We need to treat blockchain like we treat our most important data – we need to know where it goes and if it’s going to help or hurt us. It can’t be both.
We will need to trust the system to know where our data is going. We will need to trust that even though our data has left our servers, it’s secure. Decentralized ledgers are complicated, but there are ways to make this easier for users through wallets and applications, eliminating the need for any blockchain knowledge in the first place. Users should only have access to information that makes sense for their responsibility or role in a company or network. You don’t need unlimited access to see everything the blockchain is doing you only want what’s relevant for your specific use case.