A privacy-preserving system for data ownership using blockchain and distributed databases

Sabine Bertram, Co-Pierre Georg

Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the way we store, use, and process data. Information on most blockchains can be viewed by every node hosting the blockchain, which means that most blockchains cannot handle private data. Decentralized databases exist that guarantee privacy by encrypting user data with the user's private key, but this prevents easy data sharing. However, in many real world applications, from student data to medical records, it is desirable that user data is anonymously searchable. In this paper we present a novel system that gives users ownership over their data while at the same time enabling them to make their data searchable within previously agreed upon limits. Our system implements a strong notion of ownership using a self-sovereign identity system and a weak notion of ownership using multiple centralized databases together with a blockchain and a tumbling process. We discuss applications of our methods to university's student records and medical data.

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