The Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD in Spanish) and the United Nations University, through its Operating Unit (UNU-EGOV), have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU establishes a non-legally-binding framework for coordination and collaboration on the study on the implications of blockchain technology on the provision of electronic administration services provided by public authorities and bodies. The study will be carried out from the perspective of privacy and compliance with the requirements established in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The project is expected to last nine months.
Established on 26 March 1993, the AEPD is an independent public authority responsible for overseeing compliance with the legal provisions on the protection of personal data. Their main goals are to promote citizens’ rights concerning their data and the possibilities for protection of their data through AEPD and to ensure that the subjects obliged to implement the data protection rules have an agile instrument to facilitate compliance with the regulation. It has published numerous guidelines, reports and technical surveys and works on assessing the privacy risks that arise with the development of new services, applications, and general technological evolutions from the point of view of citizens’ rights.
The study will be conducted based on a prior selection and subsequent analysis of specific use cases developed by the public administrations of the Member States of the European Union or other countries which provide adequate guarantees within the framework of the services rendered by these and that constitute the processing of citizens’ data. The result of the study will identify the limits that blockchain technology presents concerning full compliance with the provisions imposed by the GDPR and a catalogue of recommendations and measures aimed at tackling the challenges arising from the interplay between technology and regulation. UNU-EGOV and the AEPD will define the selection criteria for the use cases to be used in the study and which will constitute the basis of the Assessment Framework to be carried out. Once the criteria are set out, both institutions will select the cases that will form the core of the study and on which data will be gathered and analysed. The output will be a report with the main results of the study.
The scope of the signed MoU falls under the core research programme of UNU-EGOV, as one of the Operating Unit’s objectives is to explore how emerging technologies – such as Blockchain – can transform the public sector, service delivery, decision-making, and support sustainable development. The focus is on the adoption process and use-cases driven by the opportunities, benefits, potential weaknesses, and risks associated with new technologies and concepts in innovation and digital transformation.