Due to the prevailing forces driving global e-commerce, privacy professionals are keenly aware that individuals are rapidly losing control of their personal information. Even sensational news stories about the latest massive data breach have become a routine and unexciting. Many privacy professionals fear a day of reckoning as we cede control to weakly-regulated entities, and increasingly pervasive technologies and algorithms that analyze, track, predict and permanently remember everything about us.
There are others who see privacy-enabling promise in these same technologies. For each new privacy threat, high-tech innovations arise to help individuals claw back a little more control of their digital identities. One such innovation is blockchain technology.
By now, many have heard about blockchain-enabled cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin. To the layperson, blockchain and cryptocurrency represent concepts too new and exotic to appreciate. Industry experts, however, believe that the underlying technology that powers today’s nascent cryptocurrency market may lead to tomorrow’s advancements (such as Ethereum) in massive, decentralized trust networks for sectors well beyond finance and banking. If successful, blockchain technologies may emerge as the backbone of a new system designed, in part, to control and protect one’s digital identity.
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