Have Your Privacy Cake and Eat It Too: How New Technologies Look to Protect Consumer Privacy While Promoting Innovation
28 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2019 Last revised: 19 Sep 2019
Date Written: August 4, 2019
With the rapid proliferation of personal data online, we are seeing an increase in potential dangers, leading some advocates to call for broad limits on personal data generation, collection, and use, emphasizing consumer privacy over beneficial use. Other advocates have expressed concern that broad limits on personal data will stifle innovation. Significantly, a range of privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) have developed which promise to protect consumer privacy while also allowing for the development of personal data-driven products and services that are desired by consumers. While PETs have been discussed in academia and in policy circles as a potential technical solution, this paper describes the actual technologies and implementations that are available or soon to be available. We analyze the potential of current and emerging PETs, with a specific focus on the recent emergence of blockchain-based identity management, to address the fundamental challenges posed by the rapid increase in the generation, collection, and use of personal data. We conclude that these technologies may offer the potential to protect consumer privacy while still supporting innovative products and services enabled by personal data.
Keywords: privacy, privacy technology, privacy by design, privacy-enhancing technology, PETs, smart contracts, general data protection regulation, GDPR, personal data, economics of privacy, blockchain, encryption, self-sovereign identity
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