Posted by & filed under blockchain, disruptive technology, Ethical Issues, IT and the law.

Bitcoin tokens

Researchers in Germany have found hundreds of links to child sexual abuse imagery on Bitcoin’s blockchain.

This could make using the blockchain, a digital ledger of crypto-currency transactions, illegal.  The study, from RWTH Aachen University, also said other files on the blockchain may violate copyright and privacy laws.  Researchers said they had found eight files with sexual content. And three of these contained content “objectionable for almost all jurisdictions”.  Two of these between them listed more than 200 links to child sexual abuse imagery, the study said.  And if records of the files were stored on users’ computers, they may be in violation of the law.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: March 22nd, 2018

Link: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43485572

Discussion

This article raises all sorts of issues about blockchain.

1) One of them is about how stuff gets validated on to the blockchain.  Clearly validation of content put on to the blockchain was not done in this case before the content was “mined” to be an integral part of the chain.   How might validation work?

2) Another issue that one of blockchain’s whole premises is that it is a distributed ledger, which means it is almost impossible to corrupt (unless you control 51% of the chain).   This article not only suggests that it could be illegal to have a copy of this particular blockchain, but also that “Pruning, or altering parts of the blockchain ledger, would allow users to rid their local copies of illegal content”.  Why does this take away exactly what blockchain is all about?

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