Can Decentralized Technologies Promote Privacy Protection
Governments are concerned about checking the spread of the virus, preventing deaths, and keeping citizens safe. Many actions have been put in place, from tracking users’ phones to getting data on citizens’ movements. The lines of data protection have been obscured thanks to the ongoing pandemic. Nevertheless, most of the steps taken appear to be putting citizens’ private data at risk. State authorities can protect public health with decentralized technologies like blockchain while protecting citizens’ data during the coronavirus.
The Gap Between Centralised Data Infrastructure and Data Privacy
Most maximum governments have taken up centralized technologies to keep their citizens safe. Israel has a law that allows the tracking of persons presumed to be infected by the virus through smartphones. South Korea takes a more radical step and issues the movement of infected people publicly through text messages. The United States government is seeking to associate with Google and Facebook to access the location data of infected people. While the United Kingdom is operating closely with Palantir, a data technology firm, to consolidate the data of its health service and proffer solutions.
Nevertheless, these centralized solutions pose an issue for data protection as they have proven unreliable. Citizens are being confronted with the difficulty of having zero control over their personal information. It may seem that the government is exchanging data protection for public health. There appears to be an assumption that data protection doesn’t seem essential. While the coronavirus is a matter of public health, upholding data protection is a basic human right pre-COVID-19, during, and after the pandemic.
For example, China allows a color-code classification for its residents that decides if they should be quarantined or admitted into public spaces. Situations such as these spell sentences for the future of freedom. There is a good chance of a leak or the sale of personal data, as we have noticed with Facebook. The data included may incorporate addresses, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, addresses, etc. This puts users at the risk of a leak, theft, hack, or empowers those in control of the data.
Protecting Personal Data with the Decentralised Infrastructure
When it arrives to protecting data, decentralized technology holds a lot of promise for the government. It also assures that solutions are created as well. So, governments can preserve data and stop the spread of the virus. One of the advantages that decentralized technologies hold over centralized ones is that data is not kept on a centralized server. In the decentralized infrastructure, users have their data on their devices or a private cloud encrypted by their private key. The user owns the data, and there is no spread or collection of such data on a centralized server.
More solutions are springing up to preserve public health and personal data. One of such solutions is disposable identities. This technology lets users get pseudos, which aids them in protecting their identities while tracked for their health status. A former ConsenSys developer and a team of technologists and academics have developed an open-source application that will allow users to trace their symptoms by a blockchain-based platform.
Utilizing decentralized solutions will support the government to track citizens and preserve data concurrently. Nevertheless, most governments have already negotiated on these factors. By shifting towards using blockchain-based solutions, there will be an increment in the trust for protected data and human rights.