Blockchain as future of data privacy

IIITB hosts international leadership program image

The third talk in the series of ongoing Samvaad season focused on application of blockchain in IoT (Internet of Things) industry. The session held on August 19 on IIITB campus listed some use cases and applications of blockchain and delved into its usage in healthcare domain.

A blockchain is a time-stamped series of immutable record of data that is managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. Each of the data block is secured and bound to one another using cryptographic principles. 

“The talk was about challenges that IoT industry is facing in today’s world, wherein there are many things that are getting smarter and getting connected to the internet. The IoT world has developed over several years and will continue to grow more over coming years. We focused on various challenges that need to be sorted to make IoT more scalable. The challenges can be in terms of size, energy security and data privacy, to mention a few. We are working on probable solutions by implementing blockchain technology,” says professor Tricha Anjali, associate professor and associate dean of continuing professional education, IIITB.

The session focused on data security and explored data security in healthcare. “We are looking at healthcare IoT device, including wearable fitness devices. These devices collect personal health data constantly, which includes location, heart rate, blood pressure, sleeping pattern, etc, and it is all getting uploaded into the cloud. The company that manufactures the device has access to all the personal healthcare data of customers using these devices. A third party can purchase data from multiple such providers and put it together to get a complete picture of anyone’s private life. This is breach of privacy and a major concern in IoT context,” explains professor Tricha.  

According to the talk, the solution to these problems lies in blockchain technology. “Personal data should be available in encrypted format in cloud and whoever wants to access my data should meet certain conditions set by me. This can be achieved using blockchain. Various properties of blockchair technology, for instance, decentralized nature, cryptographic storage ability, immutable character and transparent nature, make it suitable for numerous applications in IoT industry. Use cases of blockchain in IoT are being discovered by the day, and with them the entire system can be completely overhauled. By decentralizing the data, tracking, and improving payment options, blockchain is becoming a valuable tool for IoT, revolutionizing the industry worldwide,” said professor Tricha, during the session.

The second Samvaad season of 2019 began on August 5 with the theme of ‘Cryptography and Security’. Samvaad, as an initiative, was started in January 2018 to provide a platform and enable a dialogue among the different research initiatives going on at IIITB. The initiative features a public talk by one faculty member every week, introducing the ideas and questions that they are pursuing as part of their research. The objective of Samvaad is to enable cross-fertilization of ideas, and develop strategic research collaborations between members of the faculty, as well as with interested external partners.