Which makes more sense: blockchain or the “right” to be forgotten?

US think tank Coin Center has rightly pointed out that recent EU privacy legislation enshrining the absurd concept of the “right to be forgotten”, is incompatible with blockchain technology, that stores transactions in a register that cannot subsequently be modified without leaving a trace.

It is possible to incorporate a transaction that amends or changes a previous one, but what is in the chain stays in the chain, which is precisely the idea: each transaction joins a previous one and the next one through a series of cryptographic algorithms that ensure its integrity, and is temporarily sealed with the rest of the transaction block so that it cannot be eliminated or altered. There is no way someone can ask that a transaction be eliminated because it is their “right”. Why? Because that right never existed in the first place and will never exist, regardless of what a bunch of brainless lawmakers unable to see the consequences of their actions say.

All this is the foreseeable consequence of trying to incorporate into law concepts that not only make no sense from a legal point of view, but also defy common sense. The idea of a magic “delete button” is very appealing … but in reality, we know that there is no right to forgetting or being forgotten. It is illogical.

We now have a technology capable of creating records that cannot be changed without leaving a trace, an elegant solution for all transactions. The only problem is that contradicts the law the geniuses of the European Court of Justice have invented. What to do? Abandon the use of blockchain-based systems “just in case” one of the parties involves in a transaction decides they want to exercise their right to be forgotten.

The beauty of common sense is that always comes out on top eventually. At some point, someone will have to take the absurd concept of the “right to be forgotten” and call it by its name: A MISTAKE made by a court that in its arrogance believes itself to be beyond appeal. Search engines search for things, and when they find something we don’t like or that is wrong, we need to go to the source to make amends. The idea that the search engine should “hide” information “because it is our right” will only cause problems, because it defies logic, which cannot be amended.

Privacy is a vital right that must be protected. But taking it beyond the limits of logic and common sense only occurs to incompetent officials who believe that by passing a law they will change reality, and who, furthermore, couldn’t care less about the consequences of their actions, because by the time their stupid actions have rectified, they will either be retired, in a different post, or dead. Someone should record the names of the idiots who worked on this absurd law as a monument to human stupidity. The European Court of Justice can pass laws against gravity, but it’s not going to change the way the universe works, and things will keep falling, attracted by the Earth. In the same way, whatever it says about the right to be forgotten, the world doesn’t work like that. The head-on collision between the “right to be forgotten” and the reality of blockchain is just the first of many. More will come. Two cheers for stupidity.

(En español, aquí)

Like what you read? Give Enrique Dans a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.