The European Union’s digital privacy law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), officially went into effect today (May 25th).
Consequently, some websites in the U.S. have decided to block their services entirely rather than adhere to the bitter new regulations.
Dozens of American newspapers and web services are currently blocked in Europe for the foreseeable future. Some of those sites include the Los Angeles Times, the New York Daily News, the St. Louis Dispatch, the Chicago Tribune, and the Orlando Sentinel.
The conflicts between the GDPR and the technicalities of blockchains raise important legal considerations for companies seeking to implement blockchain solutions that involve the personal data of EU citizens.
One issue that will have to be considered is the GDPR’s “erasure” right. Article 17 of the GDPR demands that companies erase the personal data of individuals when they request to be “forgotten”.
This means that if content related to you is on the internet that you do not want up, you can request for it to be “forgotten” or removed. This is a prime example of why the world needs the implementation of immutable, decentralized ledger technology (blockchain).
Decentralized protocols aim to take away the power of any third party (government, corporation, etc.) to change or control data. Governmental media interference is a dystopian reality that blockchain will certainly solve. These laws obliterate transparency and overwhelmingly favor transgressors.
It is not clear whether and how one can store personal data on a blockchain and comply with a literal reading of this GDPR obligation, as blockchains are by definition immutable.
One potential solution to this issue might be to store all personal data off of the blockchain in separate “off-chain” databases, but to do so would sacrifice many of the benefits of using a blockchain in the first place.
The EU has certainly hindered technological development with their authoritative legislation, while the US continues to take a laissez-faire approach in order to promote innovation.
The European Union is a disaster who, instead of adopting this revolutionary technology, has enacted legislation to exercise their power over EU citizens.
Historically, the freedoms granted to US citizens and corporations, as well as a do no harm approach, have exponentially promoted industrial and technological growth, and this is just another example.
China, The European Union, and others have effectively shot themselves in the foot by choosing to enact legislation which denies the blockchain revolution.