Blockchains are touted as next generation databases that promise to facilitate secure and efficient transactions between unknown parties. However, one of the primary pillars of a blockchain’s security is the fact that people with access to the blockchain can see the entire history of transactions executed on the blockchain – the result being that each party has an equal opportunity to verify the accuracy of information stored. But if all the information stored on the blockchain can be viewed by anyone with access to the blockchain, what happens when that information qualifies as “personal information” under Canadian privacy laws? Organizations that collect use or disclose “personal information” are subject to a variety of compliance obligations, which as we set out below, can be difficult to reconcile with certain blockchain fundamentals.
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