‘Privacy poisoning’ to become major problem for public blockchains

October 17, 2018
Chris Wheal

By 2020 more than a billion people will have some of their personal data stored on a distributed ledger, just as public blockchains begin to suffer so-called “privacy poisoning”.

Blockchain to suffer ‘privacy poisoning’

These are some of the findings of research group Gartner that are being presented at its Symposium/ITxpo 2018 in Orlando, Florida later today.

Increasingly tech-driven

As global businesses become increasingly tech-driven chief technology officers, information officers and compliance officers will be presented with a growing number of challenges: from protecting personal data to overcoming complacency about new technologies.

These new technologies have the potential to transform and simplify many operations within corporate and industrial organisations, yet Garter believes the majority of businesses will “stay in silo-based complacency”.

Top 10 predictions

Among its top ten predictions for next five years, Gartner sees an increase in the use of artificial intelligence (AI), with AI applications reducing missing persons thanks to facial recognition technology, while hospital visits for chronically ill patients will be replaced by AI-enhanced virtual care.

Privacy rules will become increasingly important and Gartner believes that by 2023 ePrivacy regulation will increase companies’ online costs as they face a backlash to the practice of offering personal information for free.

Impact on blockchain

But Gartner’s predictions for blockchain aren’t all positive, with the suggestion that by 2021 three-quarters of public blockchains will suffer “privacy poisoning”.

This is where inserted personal data renders the blockchain non-compliant with privacy regulations.

Gartner says that by year-end 2021, more than a €1bn in sanctions for General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) non-compliance will have been issued to public blockchain operators.

It adds: “By 2022, more than 75% of entities that intend to manage commerce or technology engagement — including regions, states, and countries worldwide — will have begun to change their privacy regulations to follow the example of the GDPR.”

On the positive side, blockchain’s application in the Internet of Things (IoT) – the online interconnection between everyday devices – will increase and in 2019 spending on advanced analytics will grow by double-digit rates.

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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