With the upcoming EU regulations on big data in the form of the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the way businesses in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the U.S. and other regions handle client data is about to change.
The law, which will take effect on May 28, 2018, requires firms to acquire consent and clarify their ultimate purpose when collecting data from individuals or businesses in the EU region. Publishers and advertisers will also need to get consent from each user in order to use their personal data to target ads.
Contrary to popular belief, the GDPR will also impact businesses outside of the EU if they collect data or behavioral information from people in the EU region. Also, the implementation of this new law is likely to prompt other regions to tighten their regulations on big data. But with the robust growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the ever-rising instances of consumer data abuse, it seems that strict big data regulation is all but necessary.
However, there is a challenge for businesses in terms of the costs and complexity of implementing these laws. For instance, according to estimates by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) in collaboration with EY, Fortune 500 companies will spend a total of $7.8 billion to comply with the GDPR regulation. This equates to an average of around $16 million per company.
The costs range, from the implementation of compliant measures to financial penalties that might occur in the event of a data breach, as well as the reputational damage from public rebuke by regulators in the field. With regulations such as the GDPR in place, companies may find themselves on the wrong side of the law, especially considering the gray areas that exist in these regulations. The lack of clarity means that it will largely be at the discretion of the regulators to decide what constitutes a violation and what does not.
It, therefore, goes without saying that businesses will need superior solutions to be able to adhere to these regulations while keeping their costs low. Blockchains, the immutable public ledger technology, are providing answers to most of these challenges through a number of innovative solutions.
Blockchain technology is all about shifting power from central bodies to individuals. In the big data industry, this means allowing individuals to take control of their personal data and capitalize on it. Traditionally, internet users have had little control over how their data is collected and used by businesses and data brokers. What's even worse is that most people are unaware of the value of their data and how data brokers are using it to generate immense wealth. Blockchain technology is aiming to move the power back to the individual by enabling people to choose when to share their data and to define how and when it should be used as well. Moreover, blockchain platforms will make it possible for individuals to make an income by sharing their personal data with advertisers.
One innovative solution that has reached a huge milestone in making the decentralization of the big data industry possible is Endor , a blockchain platform founded by MIT engineers. The project, known as "Google for predictive analytics," seeks to introduce a fully automatic, open platform for behavioral prediction on which firms can ask predictive questions and receive instant insights. On the other hand, data owners can choose to share their personal data on the platform and get rewarded in Endor's EDR tokens.
Zebi , a blockchain platform that aims to solve India's big data problem, is another example of a big data solution driven by a blockchain. The project intends to make high-value and sensitive data readily available for authorized business purposes while securing and safeguarding it from hackers. Unlike the Endor project, Zebi's main focus is on protecting sensitive data elements such as land records, education and health data, employee and salary information, pension payments and others. With the Zebi solution, companies that handle sensitive user information have a guarantee that they will not find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Solutions such as Endor and Zebi will enable businesses to save on costs and comply with regulations without the fear of unknowingly violating them. This is the best time for firms to start embracing blockchain-driven solutions in their big data endeavors and save themselves many headaches down the line.