DATA PRIVACY DAY 2021: RETAINING SOVEREIGNTY OVER ONE’S OWN DATA
January 28, 2021 marks a special anniversary: The European Data Protection Convention celebrates its 40th birthday. Adopted in 1981 by the members of the Council of Europe and implemented in 1985, the convention has since been the model for a wide range of data protection regulations – which is why January 28 has been celebrated as European Data Protection Day since 2007. And a lot has happened since 1981: With a view to digitalization, the requirements for data protection regulations are constantly increasing. One result, for example, was the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the protection of personal data, which came into force in 2018. But what does data protection and data sovereignty actually look like in the corporate world? What role do these two terms play here? An overview.
DATA PROTECTION AND DATA SOVEREIGNTY
In order to clarify these issues, the terms data privacy and data sovereignty must be distinguished from one another. Data protection is the legal control over access to and use of data stored in computers and ensures that the individual’s private sphere is protected from unauthorized access from outside. Data sovereignty expands this concept to include self-determination regarding the use of data: Users can decide for themselves who has access to their personal data and who does not. This also includes the fact that users themselves can revoke access to their personal data – an example of this would be unsubscribing from an e-mail newsletter.
DATA SECURITY IN THE CORPORATE CONTEXT
Data protection and the preservation of data sovereignty also play a central role for businesses: sovereignty and self-determination are thus secured, and, at the same time, a company’s intellectual property is protected. If copies of confidential data fall into the wrong hands, enormous damage can quickly result and, in case of doubt, a company can lose its competitiveness. The protection of employee data is also important within the company: With the GDPR, companies must expect enormous fines if they do not respect the personal rights of their employees and violate the corresponding requirements. At the beginning of the year, for example, it became known that the laptop retailer Notebooksbilliger.de (NBB) would have to pay a fine of over 10 million euro for allegedly video-monitoring its employees.
But with regard to data sovereignty, the ongoing digitization of the business world in particular harbors potential risks. In order to be able to collaborate efficiently with their partners in the digital space, companies need a functioning infrastructure in a trustworthy framework, in short: a digital platform. Digital platforms offer convenience with risk – they enable end-to-end digitization by providing the interface to the customer and creating the required trustworthy framework through identity and data verification. However, the use of centralized platforms by companies also creates information asymmetry: the using companies provide more and more data to the platform provider, giving deep insights into confidential business processes. This way the platform operator can collect important user data and then use it for its own purposes. Using this aggregated industry knowledge, platform providers can enter the business – and in the worst case, even force their former partners out of the market.
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PRESERVATION OF DATA SOVEREIGNTY ON DECENTRALIZED PLATFORMS
Decentralized platforms, such as TRUST&TRACE, can help prevent such scenarios: Here, data is not stored centrally on the platform provider’s servers, but is distributed in encrypted form among the individual network members. Thanks to this decentralized storage, users can completely determine how their own data is processed – and thus always retain sovereignty over their data. This way, digital business relationships can be established in a trustworthy manner without creating monopolies and central dependencies. For companies this offers decisive advantages: they can control what information is shared with selected business partners and at what point in time. The decentralized storage of data also makes it more difficult to manipulate data records, simplifies the exchange of master data and finally makes work processes between different companies significantly more efficient.
TRUST&TRACE ensures data sovereignty and independence of all users through its own decentralized infrastructure. Each company maintains its data independently and makes it available to business partners – the data is therefore only maintained once and used multiple times. Important information along the supply chain can be made digitally available directly at the product, so that proof of origin, quality and production conformity can be provided. The verification of important company data by trusted third parties also reduces costs that are incurred when validating and checking company information the traditional way. TRUST&TRACE thus ensures independence from digital platform monopolies – and creates a basis of trust for the transparent economy of tomorrow.
Do you have questions on how TRUST&TRACE can be used for your business needs? Write us an email to [email protected] and let our product experts advise you at no cost and without obligation. Please also find further information about TRUST&TRACE on our homepage.