Accenture's patent-pending solution for an editable blockchain is causing controversy in financial services circles.
However, FS is only one use case for blockchain and this could be a key step for any use cases involving personal data.
One of the many rights that individuals have over their personal data is the '“right to be forgotten”, made famous by the Google case in the EU Court of Justice. The case itself was decided on the basis of existing rights, including the right to have inaccurate data corrected or deleted; however these rights will be amalgamated and strengthened in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force in May 2018. The data subject will have the right to have data about him or her erased ‘without undue delay’, whether or not the data was correct at the time it was recorded.
Hitherto, it has been difficult to see how the blockchain could be a suitable medium for recording anything involving personal data - despite Government backing of such use-cases, including going as far as carrying out pilots with 'live' benefits recipients.
Of course there remain many other questions to be answered in any system in which data is processed, chief of which is security (DAO, anyone?) Accenture's proposal must be a good step forward in enabling wider application of the blockchain.
“Accenture’s approach is one of several options in the toolbox,” said Ms Masters. “But we think it is innovative and can strike the right balance between preserving blockchain’s key features and adapting it for real-world requirements within some permissioned systems.”