Humans are social animals. They interact with each other within groups, and they form different groups that also interact with each other. These groups range from circles of friends to entire nations. Somewhere in between this broad range are business interactions. People exchange goods, services, or anything of value. Over time, these exchanges grew from being between individuals to being between corporations, and eventually between whole nations.
People started to engage in trusted monetary exchange and secure information sharing. These interactions finally defined commerce. It is through commerce that economies around the world grew.
The Value of Information
Money makes the world go round. Whole nations would have never interacted with each other if it were not for the chance to exchange anything of value. In the modern world, commerce has abided by this timeless saying for decades. However, with the fast advances in technology, money is no longer the primary driver of commerce. Today, information is just as valuable as currency.
Since advances such as the internet and smart technologies have become more ubiquitous, information has received more attention than ever. Since anything can be made publicly available to the world with just a few taps, the need to secure information has grown. This need gave birth to a new form of commodity: privacy.
Why Privacy Became a Big Deal
The internet is becoming more omnipresent. What started as an innovation that only bulky computers can access is now present in phones, TVs, and entire homes. TVs can now have cameras and facial recognition to see who is watching and give program recommendations.
Homes can now know how many people are in a room to adjust the lighting, adjust the temperature, or grant access to homeowners. However, as technology gets more innovative, and so do hackers. Others can exploit the information that technology uses to make life more convenient.
This risk is more critical when money is involved. When entities like banks exchange money that is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, secure information sharing becomes a vital necessity.
In banking, not only is secure information sharing a necessity, but the information also must be correct. Transaction delays occur because the parties involved in the transaction do not have enough information. To get around this, they use physical means such as emails and phone calls, which can take time. Giving information is thus necessary. However, the more information people provide, the chances of risks start to increase.
Products of Privacy
Blockchain is another technology that has become common in recent years. A blockchain acts as a virtual ledger for tracking transactions. As the name suggests, a blockchain is a chain or series of connected blocks. Each block contains information of a particular transaction, such as the goods being exchanged and the price. One of the security measures of blockchain is the hash. Each block has a hash which is like a fingerprint unique to that block.
If there are changes to the transaction, the hash also changes. However, blocks also contain the hash of previous blocks. If hackers want to change the information on a particular block, and therefore change its hash, they would have to change the hash of all the following blocks.
As long as there are devices coming to the internet of things, people will exchange more information. Innovations make transactions easier, but secure information sharing makes it safer. You wouldn’t want your personal and private information to go to the wrong hands.
Author – Darren Wilson