[OpenTRV-dev] Blockchain for anti-tamper and non-repudiatiot of valuable IoT data

Adrian Godwin artgodwin at gmail.com
Wed Sep 23 19:18:18 BST 2015

I've been thinking recently about the number of insurance companies
interested in IoT applications. Presumably this is because they want to
adjust their risk models on the basis of your actual, rather than declared
activities. Which is fine as far as as estimating their risk goes, but not
fine should they then use that information to discriminate between clients
on the basis of their health or (dis)ability, which would be illegal.

So an IoT hub or relay should provide the means to leave the user in
control of the visibility of their personal data. We're not in the habit of
walking naked in the street : we choose who we allow to know about our
personal lives. When we fill in a survey or an application form, we choose
which parts to leave out or falsify according to how far we trust the

The same should be true of personal data. Someone who places a device in
our homes is obtaining access to the data, but we need to be very careful
what we say about it. I, personally, want a monitoring company to tell me
exactly what data they are using and what they are using it for. I will
then choose what data they get, and will trust the analysis they provide in
return in accordance with the accuracy of the data I gave them. They
shouldn't have the opportunity to know what filtering I wish to use to
limit their knowledge of me.

Of course, it cuts both ways. If someone uses the data I permitted them to
read against me, I should have a mechanism whereby I can disclaim that data
if someone tampers with it.

There may be applications such as the one you describe where the data must
be reliable or it is useless. But tamper-proof transport isn't sufficient.
It needs tamper-proof sensors, tamper-proof attachment to the product, and
tamper-proof analysis of the results. There is a danger that the
tamper-proof data transport  will be seen as also providing tamper-proof
data, but the transport cannot provide that. It's a necessary but not
sufficient condition for reliable access to the data.

On Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 6:51 PM, Damon Hart-Davis <dhd at exnet.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> In the case of (legally) important IoT data, such as food store
> temperatures, in Launchpad we’d like to be able to posit some mechanisms to
> make it hard to tamper with or repudiate the data in the sensor and all the
> way to the data store and afterwards.
> (Such entries might be a unique sensor ID, timestamp, temperature and some
> other sensor data and metadata, generated every few minutes by (say) 1–100
> devices in a building.)
> In a chat with Viv today (helping us with out business plan, but also a
> blockchain whiz) the possibility of using a blockchain mechanism to provide
> at least these two features in the long-term data store came up.
> We’ve thought of some pros and cons, but I’m very interested in the views
> of our hive mind here!
> Rgds
> Damon
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