The deployment of blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies in supply chains offers considerable advantages. Nevertheless, their deployment and implementation can raise concerns about how best to both meet data protection laws and protect commercially sensitive data.
Supply chain actors may be unwilling to take on what they perceive as additional legal risk, especially if data protection obligations become, or are seen to become, unduly burdensome. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, for example, is at the forefront of a new wave of data protection legislation globally, and brings with it important practical and regulatory obligations, with the potential for significant fines in cases of non-compliance.
With respect to safeguarding commercially sensitive data in supply chain transactions, the deployment of blockchain may lead to a perceived loss of control, raising questions about security, access rights and how to structure blockchain solutions: e.g. whether only some subsets of data should be shared on the blockchain and/or whether data sharing should be limited to only those parties involved in the transaction.
Within this context, this paper provides practical introductory guidance to supply chain actors who seek greater confidence as they navigate the implications for the protection of data when deploying blockchain solutions. This is the fourth white paper in a series and part of a broader project focused on the co-creation of new tools and frameworks to shape the deployment of distributed ledger technology in supply chains towards interoperability, integrity and inclusivity.
Anne Josephine Flanagan, Project Lead Data Policy, World Economic Forum, USA
Fiona Maclean, Technology Transactions Group, Latham & Watkins, UK
Mark Sun, Technology Transactions Group, Latham & Watkins, UK
Nadia Hewett, Project Lead Blockchain and DLT, World Economic Forum, USA
Rebecca Liao, Executive Vice-President, Skuchain, USA