DATATRUSTEE is a blockchain-based plugin that captures the process of a website user filling in an online data consent form. All data is stored on a blockchain, and marketers can use it in court to provide evidence that consumers have agreed to their data being used for marketing purposes.

The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) causes nightmares amongst European marketing managers and website providers. It is said to be the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years.

As a result, one out of three B2B-marketers believes conversion rates will decrease, 40% believe their current strategy will not be legally feasible anymore under the new framework, and more than 51% believe their mailing lists will shrink.

With data regulations being rather strict in Europe already, companies that gather consumer data for marketing purposes need to be careful about how they store, use, and manage these data. Otherwise, hefty fines may be the result of non-compliance.

Providing bullet-proof evidence for consumer consent is a challenge

If you check your spam folder, you will see tons of marketing emails from all sorts of companies. Have you agreed to be on all of these mailing lists? Probably not, but those that sent you an email without your consent breach European data protection laws. It is illegal to send marketing emails to anyone without their prior approval. The same goes for marketing calls.

There are different ways to get someone’s approval. Best is to get it in writing because in case a consumer wants to see proof for his consent, it will be the marketer’s responsibility to provide it. “He says, she says” won’t go a long way in court.

In case the marketer cannot provide sufficient evidence for the consumer’s consent, hefty fines are waiting. Fines on compliance breaches can be as high as EUR 20 million, or 4% of annual revenue, depending on which amount is higher. Just recently, Honda and FlyBe had to pay fines for not handling email data correctly.

DATATRUSTEE documents the consent process to provide proof in court

The goal of DATATRUSTEE is to gather sufficient documentation for marketers to provide evidence for consumers’ consent to be used in potential court cases.

Marketers can integrate DATATRUSTEE into any web form via an API, for example newsletter registration forms or insurance queries.

When a consumer fills in the form online, DATATRUSTEE will document the entire process, including screenshots, all data provided, timestamps, IPs, and more. The plugin also verifies email addresses via double-opt-in and can even verify phone numbers if required. According to the company, the process is completely GDPR-compliant.

If a consumer later demands proof for his data consent, marketers can use the plugin to create comprehensive documentation in PDF form for each user.

DATATRUSTEE is based in Bochum, Germany and is currently applying for licensing with the national data authorities.

Blockchain ensures data transparency and immutability

DATATRUSTEE saves all data on a blockchain, making the entire process transparent and preventing manipulation. The app can also be used to provide evidence that parties have agreed to the provisions of a smart contract or within the Internet of Things to document device data.

The blockchain is hosted by I.D.I, the Interessenverband Deutsches Internet, a German data protection association. The I.D.I manages and controls the blockchain.

DATATRUSTEE is an interesting project, attempting to solve the data protection challenges faced by online marketers. It addresses a pain point and provides a feasible solution. How useful this technology will be, we will see once the first court case is getting settled with DATATRUSTEE-based documentation. Until then we remain curious!

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