Internet Computer Advances European Digital Sovereignty with GDPR-Compatible Blockchain

Since the enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 18, 2018, organizations worldwide have grappled with stringent requirements to safeguard the personal data of European citizens. The UK swiftly followed suit with equivalent data protection laws, making GDPR one of the strictest consumer privacy and data security laws globally. Violators face sanctions or hefty fines, with penalties reaching up to 20 million euros or 4% of global revenue.

For European organizations, compliance with GDPR proves challenging, given the heavy reliance on remote computing and data storage services dominated by major US cloud providers, namely Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Google, which collectively hold a 65% share of the global cloud market. This dependency has fueled concerns in Europe about digital sovereignty, prompting initiatives to establish digital infrastructure fully under European jurisdiction.

Projects like Evroc, a pilot data center in Sweden, and Ionos, positioning itself as a European alternative to US tech giants, aim to lay the foundation for Europe’s first sovereign hyperscale cloud. However, building at scale demands substantial infrastructure, including data centers, servers, storage systems, and networking equipment, posing challenges such as funding and access to necessary technology.

Despite these efforts, the landscape remains centralized, with a few major cloud service providers (CSPs) holding custodial control over personal data. The potential solution lies in blockchain technology, offering an alternative to centralized cloud monopolies.

Blockchain, often seen as incompatible with GDPR, introduces trustlessness to overcome single-party reliance. While traditional blockchains face hurdles in GDPR compliance, a hybrid blockchain architecture could harmoniously coexist. The Internet Computer, presenting itself as a GDPR-compatible blockchain, takes a groundbreaking step towards addressing these challenges.

Unlike most blockchains, where validators can join from anywhere globally, the Internet Computer adopts a unique structure. Formed by interacting subnet blockchains and controlled by a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), it enables the creation of EU-regional subnets hosting node machines solely within European soil. This architecture allows the Internet Computer to tackle GDPR challenges effectively.

The Internet Computer addresses key GDPR concerns:

Right to correct data: The Internet Computer maintains only the current state, granting decentralized applications (dapps) control over stored data.

Right to be forgotten: Dapps on the Internet Computer can delete and correct data, ensuring compliance with GDPR.

Preventing company usage of data: Dapps act as data controllers, customizing access control via flexible smart contract software.

Unambiguous liability: The Network Nervous System (NNS), a DAO governing the Internet Computer, verifies and votes in each node provider, preserving decentralization and accountability.

To enhance trust and GDPR compliance, the Internet Computer introduces two features: Verifiably Encrypted Threshold Key Derivation (vetKeys) for end-to-end encryption and AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization-Secure Nested Paging (AMD SEV-SNP) to secure node machines.

The Internet Computer’s EU subnet, implemented with node machines in European countries, paves the way for developers and organizations to build and deploy GDPR-compliant services and applications with absolute digital sovereignty in Europe. The EU subnet opens doors for various industries, from decentralized health records to finance applications, all adhering to GDPR regulations.

As the Internet Computer strives to enable digital sovereignty, questions arise about users’ readiness for self-custody of personal data. Technologies like Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP) offer ways to prove something about an individual without revealing sensitive information. The Internet Computer, equipped with Internet Identity (II), aligns with this vision, supporting user control, decentralization, transparency, and updatability — essential elements for a GDPR-compliant landscape on blockchain technology.

In a world shifting towards greater privacy and ownership of personal data, the Internet Computer emerges as a key player in advancing digital sovereignty and reshaping the relationship between users and their information.


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Maria Irene
Maria Irene
Maria Irene is a multi-faceted journalist with a focus on various domains including Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Real Estate, Energy, and Macroeconomics. With over a year of experience, she has produced an array of video content, news stories, and in-depth analyses. Her journalistic endeavours also involve a detailed exploration of the Australia-India partnership, pinpointing avenues for mutual collaboration. In addition to her work in journalism, Maria crafts easily digestible financial content for a specialised platform, demystifying complex economic theories for the layperson. She holds a strong belief that journalism should go beyond mere reporting; it should instigate meaningful discussions and effect change by spotlighting vital global issues. Committed to enriching public discourse, Maria aims to keep her audience not just well-informed, but also actively engaged across various platforms, encouraging them to partake in crucial global conversations.


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