Vitalik Buterin’s shifting views on privacy

blockchain | privacy | Research Notes

I’m considerably more pro-privacy than I was a few years ago. A few years ago, my position was closer to “in a well-running society it’s probably optimal that everyone sees everything, the value for privacy tech for ordinary people is (i) to let them buy weed, put up beds so people can sleep over in offices, and otherwise circumvent silly regulations, and (ii) to maintain a healthy balance of power, because even if more transparency is good, the government only having the all-seeing eye and everyone else being in the dark would give too much power to the government”.Things that changed my mind, and made me believe that even in a hypothetical perfectly equal and fair society people having some privacy is a good idea include:Reading Robin Hanson and others’ literature on signalling, and seeing just how large a portion of our lives it still is. Basically, I see privacy as a way to prevent signalling concerns from encompassing all of our activity, and creating spheres where we are free to optimize for our own happiness and just our own happiness, and not what other people think about us.Having a deeper understanding of the ways that it’s possible to make other people’s lives suck even as a law-abiding private citizen, and realizing that privacy is an important self-defense tool for those situations.Realizing more deeply that “the people” are not always virtuous, and that social pressure as a mechanism for influencing people’s behavior doesn’t always lead to results I approve of (see: recent string of internet mobs leading to people getting fired for political views). Realizing how bad mainstream media is even today, which makes me more understanding of people’s desire to protect themselves from them.Mass surveillance is problematic because (i) I don’t trust governments and large corporations to have interests that are aligned with us, and (ii) it creates points of centralized data collection that could get hacked, leading to everyone getting that data even if that was never the original intention. That said, in the physical space it’s pretty unavoidable, so we should at least work hard to make the internet a more privacy-preserving place.

Blockchains and Data Protection in the European Union by Michèle Finck :: SSRN

blockchain | data protection | law | privacy | regulation | Research Notes

This paper examines data protection on blockchains and other forms of distributed ledger technology (‘DLT’). Transactional data stored on a blockchain, whether in plain text, encrypted form or after having undergone a hashing process, constitutes personal data for the purposes of the GDPR. Public keys equally qualify as personal data as a matter of EU data protection law. We examine the consequences flowing from that state of affairs and suggest that in interpreting the GDPR with respect to blockchains, fundamental rights protection and the promotion of innovation, two normative objectives of the European legal order, must be reconciled. This is even more so given that, where designed appropriately, distributed ledgers have the potential to further the GDPR’s objective of data sovereignty.

Source: Blockchains and Data Protection in the European Union by Michèle Finck :: SSRN

Blockchain Protocol Analysis and Security Engineering 2017 | Cyber Initiative

algorithms | blockchain | consensus mechanisms | cryptocurrencies | decentralization | governance | issues/conflicts | papers | people | privacy | quantitative analysis | Research Notes | smart contracts | tools

The conference will explore the use of formal methods, empirical analysis, and risk modeling to better understand security and systemic risk in blockchain protocols.  The conference aims to foster multidisciplinary collaboration among practitioners and researchers in blockchain protocols, distributed systems, cryptography, computer security, and risk management.

Source: Blockchain Protocol Analysis and Security Engineering 2017 | Cyber Initiative

Control over Blockchain Network by Aleksei Gudkov :: SSRN

blockchain | governance | papers | privacy | Research Notes

Abstract

One of the key problems of blockchain technology is lack of control of users, organized societies, and state authorities over the transactions and asset on the decentralized network.

The distributed ledger and blockchain are interesting as an example of new technology, which is the rule not only for users but also for governments. Technology-driven rules can be viewed as a technological law for blockchain users and legislative authorities. No legal regulation can change the anonymity or immutability of blockchain. Only another technology could turn the situation around. This is a lesson for every lawyer to learn not only the law but the scope of technology.

The purpose of the article is an analysis of modern determinants of control distribution over assets, transactions, and decentralized organizations on blockchain distributed network.

The article shows how control appears in a variety of different situations on blockchain network. Examples range from the individual and organizational control to control over the networking system discussing the possibilities of the participants to exercise control.

On the base of the legal cases, the ability of controlling shareholder, directors, managers, governments, stakeholders and users of crypto-communities to control the organization, transactions and assets are discussed.

Keywords: control, blockchain, decentralized organization, virtual organization

Gudkov :: SSRN

Blockchains and Data Protection in the European Union by Michèle Finck :: SSRN

papers | privacy | Research Notes

Blockchains and Data Protection in the European Union

31 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2017 Last revised: 16 Dec 2017

Michèle Finck

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; University of Oxford

Date Written: November 30, 2017

Abstract

This paper examines data protection on blockchains and other forms of distributed ledger technology (‘DLT’). Transactional data stored on a blockchain, whether in plain text, encrypted form or after having undergone a hashing process, constitutes personal data for the purposes of the GDPR. Public keys equally qualify as personal data as a matter of EU data protection law. We examine the consequences flowing from that state of affairs and suggest that in interpreting the GDPR with respect to blockchains, fundamental rights protection and the promotion of innovation, two normative objectives of the European legal order, must be reconciled. This is even more so given that, where designed appropriately, distributed ledgers have the potential to further the GDPR’s objective of data sovereignty.

Source: Blockchains and Data Protection in the European Union by Michèle Finck :: SSRN

Blockchain and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation: A Chance to Harmonize International Data Flows by Stan Sater :: SSRN

papers | people | privacy | Research Notes

Blockchain and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation: A Chance to Harmonize International Data Flows

40 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2017

Stan Sater

Independent

Date Written: November 6, 2017

Abstract

Future economic growth is dependent on global data sharing. With the EU’s GDPR going into effect May 25, 2018, data privacy law in the EU will be uniform in text. The GDPR applies extraterritorially to any organization that can reach the EU market in terms of access by an EU citizen. While a consistent and coordinated interpretation of the GDPR provides organizations with the requisite assurances needed when operating in an international environment, stricter standards and higher fines require the organizations to rethink their international privacy compliance protocols. Trust-failures in society are the driving force behind such comprehensive regulatory frameworks, but emerging technology like blockchain can aid in minimizing these privacy concerns. Among other things, blockchain properties include decentralization, authentication, confidentiality, accountability, and access control management. By treating data flows as transactions, blockchain applications can work with regulations to facilitate the secure transfer of information. The purpose of this paper is to begin a conversation around utilizing blockchain technology and reducing harmonizing regulations like the GDPR to an automated protocol.