18 June 2020

The Promise of “Blockchain”: DLT-based applications re-shape data storage and sharing, but can they be compliant with the EU data protection law? 

On 18 June 2020, the Brussels Privacy Hub and the Health and Ageing Law Lab (HALL)  in synergy with the Horizon 2020-funded research projects: Cyber-Trust| Advanced Cyber-Threat Intelligence, Detection, and Mitigation Platform for a Trusted Internet of Things, FASTER | First responder Advanced technologies for Safe and efficienT Emergency Response, and LOCARD | Lawful evidence collecting and continuity platform development present the panel ‘The Promise of “Blockchain”: DLT-based applications re-shape data storage and sharing, but can they be compliant with the EU data protection law?’ 

In recent times, much discussion has taken place among policymakers, academia and the private sector. Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) for data storage and sharing offer high potential and benefits in various contexts. Albeit, their use may give birth to implications with respect to data protection law. Design choices - giving preference to more centralised or decentralised solutions, opting for a permissioned or permissionless type of DLT, or resorting to an on-chain/off-chain scheme - create complications for researchers, DLT experts and businesses, as they can lead to different legal considerations, provided the characteristics specific to each application as well as the inherent limitations of each technology. Design choices can render compliance with the data protection and privacy framework easier or impossible and thus, can have a significant impact on the success of a project or product. 

The panel will address issues relating to DLT-based applications beyond Blockchain, understanding which questions have to be asked during the conceptualization and design of a solution as well as during its actual implementation. The panelists, focusing on three innovative use cases of DLT (cyber-security, law enforcement and emergency response), will further address more general concerns and other issues, including the basic technical characteristics of DLTs and the current state-of-the-art. The backend legal research supporting those design choices will be extensively discussed. 

All in all, Blockchain-enthusiasts or skeptics, attendees will have the opportunity to hear about novel technical solutions which aim to render DLT-based applications compliant with data protection law and ensure the enforcement of data subjects’ rights, such as the notion of Private Data, the adoption of different access levels and the TimeToLive (TTL) feature.  


Panellists and respondents (in alphabetical order)

  • Olga Gkotsopoulou, Legal Researcher (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Anastasiya Kiseleva, Legal Researcher (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Ashwinee Kumar, Legal Researcher (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) 
  • Clément Pavué, Data Scientist at Scorechain (Cyber-Trust) 
  • Jon Shamah, Chair EEMA (LOCARD)
  • Yuri Tijerino, Professor at Kwansei Gakuin University and Carlos Tovar, Principal Architect-Technology at Ariwonto (FASTER)


Chair:  Prof. Paul Quinn (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) 

Time: 12:30 - 14:00 CEST (Brussels time) 


12.30-13.30 Presentations by the panelists 

13.30-14.00 Q&A with audience and concluding remarks 

Location: The event will take place online. The teleconference platform, together with the link to join the event, will be communicated to the registered participants via email in due time. 

Registration: this event is free to attend but registration is required. For any problems with online registration, please contact info@brusselsprivacyhub.eu. Having difficulty accessing the regsitration form on your mobile device? Use this link.

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