The Need for Technological & Legislative Collaboration for Innovation
An emerging technology, blockchain, introduces the concept of “backpacks” and "highways" to this digital space. A user in a blockchain world will still find themselves traveling from skyscraper to skyscraper, but with blockchain, they are now equipped with backpacks which can store their own data over which they have control about how each skyscraper can use their data. The skyscrapers are also built on highways with the blockchain, on which users travel from each skyscraper to skyscraper with their backpacks, controlling what data they add to their pack and what they share or leave with each skyscraper. The technology space calls this concept of the “backpack”: “sovereign identity” or at their most rudimentary, "wallets". The metaphorical description boils down complex technological concepts to the two basic infrastructure architectures of digital spaces that can exist—what some call “custodian” versus “self-custody”. That is either the skyscraper or website/platform is the one controlling the user’s data as “custodian” with full control to do as the website wishes, or the user is controlling their own data as “self-custody” with full control over how their data is used. As we move forward in this digital age, it is essential to examine the current state of consumer information privacy legislation and consider the technological solutions that could inform the evolution of consumer information privacy laws. While proposed legislation may be slow to pass, technological solutions like blockchain offer a promising alternative for users to have more control over their personal data.