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Verizon to Use Blockchain for Digital Rights Management

Reading Time: 3 minutes by on August 27, 2016 Business, News
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Recently, it was revealed that Verizon, a multi-billion dollar telecommunications company based in New Jersey, has been experimenting with the blockchain technology as a digital rights management platform for the storage of unalterable and irrefutable data.

According to major media outlets including Reuters and Business Insider, Verizon has submitted various patents on their blockchain products over the past three years, focusing on the development of passcode blockchain platforms utilized to maintain a sequence of passcodes corresponding to a particular piece of digital content or set of data.

A passcode blockchain is a decentralized platform designed specifically for data-driven companies like Verizon to deal with sensitive data that are leveraged to carry out core operations. A unique passcode or private key is designated to a user which is used to move data in the peer-to-peer network.

For instance, a user of the Verizon telecommunications service is required to submit a series of information or data necessary to establish a user record. Then, Verizon takes that information to set up an account for the user to use their services.

In essence, one passcode is designated to one record of the user. That means one passcode can be assigned to the user’s account number, another passcode can be assigned to the user’s address, and so on. If changes occur, a new passcode will be created and the prior data or passcode will be removed.

“Furthermore, the expiration date associated with the key may continue to be in effect with respect to the second user and/or any subsequent users. Thus, if access rights for a particular digital content are associated with a rental period, or a subscription period, users may continue to transfer the rights to other users during the rental period,” describes the company’s patent filed in May.

If and when Verizon needs to move a certain record or set of data to a new user, the original owner of the data set will have to use the corresponding passcode to migrate the information to a new user. The second or the new user then obtains a new passcode which will be used to protect the information.

Once this digital rights management blockchain platform is integrated into the core IT systems of Verizon, the company will be able to reduce a significant share of their costs and budget that is used to maintain centralized databases and servers to record these pieces of information.

As a telecommunications company, Verizon is required by both local and international regulations to keep all sensitive user data for the law enforcement or governments to access. Regardless of the ethics or principles of the company, by law, Verizon has to be ready to provide any kind of data in any circumstances.

For the company to manage hundreds of millions of data sets, it will cost the company millions of dollars just for the maintenance and protection of their servers and databases. On top of that, the company spends another section of their budget to hire employees to manually verify and authenticate the transfer of data, even for basic settlement of information like migrating email or house addresses from one account to another.

Let’s say that a Verizon customer named Bob moved his address to where Alice used to live. Alice then transferred to Bob’s original home. Alice and Bob now have to contact Verizon to change their billing addresses. When Verizon receives this request, employees access their centralized servers to change data manually and contact Alice and Bob that the operations were carried out securely.

For such a simple task, it costs Verizon more than it should. Millions of dollars for simple changes in the company’s database is impractical and inefficient for a large corporation.

In a blockchain platform, however, Alice and Bob will be able to change their data using their own passcodes. Once the change is executed, it is broadcasted to the entire network which notifies the Verizon team.

Instead of manually verifying each change in the database, Verizon can simply spot suspicious changes or transactions on the network through a third-party organization, which will reduce the majority of their costs.

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