Chapter

Chronicle of a Clash Foretold: Blockchains and the GDPR's Right to Erasure

Authors:
  • Polytechnic University of Turin
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Abstract

GDPR abiding blockchain systems are feasible. Jurists, programmers, and other experts are increasingly working on this aim nowadays. Still, manifold blockchain networks functioning out there suggest a new generation of data protection issues brought about by this technology. Some of these issues will likely concern the right to erasure set up by Art. 17 of the EU data protection regulation ('GDPR'). These cases will soon be discussed before national authorities and courts, and will likely test the technical solutions explored in this paper, such as hashing-out methods, keys destruction, chameleon hash functions, and more. By taking into account matters of design and the complex architecture of blockchains, we shall distinguish between blockchains that have been thought about to expressly meet the requirements of the EU regulation, and blockchains that, for one reason or another, e.g. ante GDPR designed blockchains, trigger some sort of clash with the legal order, that is, (i) matters of principle on e.g. political decentralization; (ii) standards on security and data protection; (iii) a mix of them; and, (iv) social clash. It is still unclear how the interplay of legal regulation, technological constraints, social norms, and market interests, will end up in this context. Rulings and court orders will be instructive. It is a clash foretold, after all.

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... Therefore, under the GDPR, a data subject whose personal data have been stored on a blockchain has the right to obtain the erasure of her personal data. Putting aside several issues in determining the controller(s) and the processor(s), it seems that current blockchains appear inherently incompatible with the regulatory framework of the European Union [37]. ...
Conference Paper
Governance issues limit blockchains' ability to evolve and face unforeseen challenges. It seems possible to argue that this impasse is because most blockchains lack meta-rules. This work considers blockchains as a socio-technical system of rules, in order to draw a comparison with legal systems. Following the comparison, one finds that most blockchains lack what, in legal theory, are considered secondary rules. That is, the meta-rule of the system. This works examines the relevant concepts and provides their definitions, then proceeds to outline concrete example of the failure of governance among popular blockchains before drawing the parallelism with legal systems and argue that secondary rules might solve some of the issues of the governance of blockchains. Secondary rules are the necessary infrastructure for building sound governance structures and a necessary condition for blockchains to succeed as a new mode of governance. The conclusion provides future research directions.
... Für das Recht auf Löschung (Artikel 17 Absatz 1 DSGVO) können jedoch technische Lösungen gefunden werden. Da der Begriff "Löschen" in der DSGVO aber nicht definiert ist, ist der Begriff offen für eine rechtliche Auslegung [6,18]. Demnach käme statt der Entfernung eines Datensatzes auch eine Anonymisierung ebenjenes in Betracht. ...
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Digitalization, which proceeds in all branches, as well in agriculture, by using new technology, sensors and networking, requires responsible usage of data. One possibility to manage data and use them to create value is the blockchain-technology. It is primary enforced by the food industries and consumers to ensure traceability and transparency. To put blockchain-technology into beneficial use in agriculture, this domain has to be analyzed regarding social and business aspects. This paper presents the results of a qualitative study where 41 actors from the agricultural domain participated in focus groups and delivered a written statement. It was found that farmers are interested in adapting new markets and technologies early to get an economic advantage. On the other hand, the fear of losing traditional local business partners and the social surroundings of the farmers must be considered.
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