IBM Boosts Blockchain Project
Multinational technology company IBM is bolstering its blockchain efforts after it utilized the nascent technology to give users a greater control over their personal data.
The computer manufacturing company announced that its blockchain arm is working with Hu-manity.co which ascribes to the concept that legal ownership of a person’s data should be a “31st human right” worldwide aside from the 30 already ratified by the Untied Nations.
Hu-manity users receive a title of ownership, similar to a property deed, once they claim their data property rights. Therefore, their personal information, signature and photograph can be added in the form of a hash on the blockchain, alongside details such as the individual’s data-sharing preferences.
The app’s global consent ledger which logs the granting and revocation of permission to use a personal data is developed on the IBM Blockchain Platform via the Hyperledger Fabric, the two entities will also collaborate with Sovrin on this project.
IBM noted its partnership with Hu-manity implies the company is seeing a long-term business value in this use case for the distributed ledger technology, Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM Blockchain, said. “Getting people’s permissioned rights on a blockchain will create a marketplace and entirely new economic business models as a result,” Wieck said.
Hu-manity’s app is generally consumer-facing but corporations starting in the healthcare industry can use the enterprise version in the first quarter of 2019.
“We tend to agree that data is the next natural resource and like a natural resource has to be mined responsibly in the same way,” she added. “Blockchain combined with the notion of rights to individual data, facilitates the distributed sharing of that information securely and at scale,” she added.
Users are also expected to own location data, search history, and e-commerce habits, according to Richie Etwaru, founder and chief executive officer of Hu-manity.
Personal details provided by users are akin to the production of crude oil, Etwaru said. “The partnership with IBM enables private blockchain to create a direct relationship between the crude data provider – the human being – and the buyer of the refined data at the end of the supply chain.”
Personal records including the patient’s health record changes hands for about $400, he said, adding regulations in the United States and other countries are vague when it comes to such an information and can be interpreted in various ways.
Etwaru said a wide adoption of an empowering data-sharing app would result in a “call to action, and pool consensus around how laws should actually work.” Aside from users, companies could have clarity and transparency through a movement.
“The end buyer could have better compliance posture if they use our data and we can figure out the economics between the individual and the buyer. The pharmaceutical industry has never really been offered an explicit consenting relationship with individuals before,” he added.
“In clinical trials, there would be a way of tracking data and ensuring these are all real human beings and doing it at scale. Trust and transparency have been a challenge up until now,” Wieck said.