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Forget Erasure: Why Blockchain is Really Incompatible with the GDPR

– Berkman Klein Center

In this blog post for The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Elizabeth M. Renieris argues that blockchain is fundamentally at odds with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation

By reviewing the seven core GDPR principles of lawfulness, fairness and transparency, purpose limitation, data minimization, accuracy, storage limitation, integrity and confidentiality, and accountability, Renieris demonstrates how at each principle, blockchain design and policies of current use currently fall short.

Renieris goes on to challenge the current debate around blockchain systems, arguing that participants in the debate should start at a higher level than they are currently. She also urges colleagues to consider basic principles before they debate specific features or technicalities of distributed ledger technology and data protection.

[Blockchain debate] participants tend to dive head first into debating technical and nuanced details about the implementation of specific features or functionality in a given network, often losing sight of the bigger picture. In this way, solving one discrete issue often makes another tension harder to resolve, in a never-ending game of compliance whack-a-mole

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