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For example, suppose the statement: "Ms X has entered

internationally sanctioned Country Y on a business visa"

is recorded in your database. If this statement about

Ms X is incorrect and Ms X and her business are, in fact,

prohibited under international sanctions from conducting

business in Country Y, Ms X might reasonably submit a

request to you that the incorrect statement be corrected.

It is by no means certain that a regulator or a court would

regard it as a sufficient rectification if you were simply to

update your database to say: "Ms X did not enter Country

Y on a business visa. This statement is actually incorrect;

Ms X has not done business in a country subject to

international sanctions." Indeed, Ms X may well not

be satisfied with this and demand that all evidence of

the initial statement to be deleted and replaced with a

correct statement.

By contrast, however, there may be cases where it is not

appropriate to erase personal data, even if incorrect, in

order to replace it with correct information. One example

is data that serves an evidential purpose, such as a

signed contract. It may not be appropriate to modify a

signed contract to, for example, correct a mistake in the

job title of an individual named in the contract. It may

be preferable to attach a clarificatory statement to the

contract, so that the contract can still serve as evidence of

the exact, unaltered terms of the agreement the parties to

the contract reached.

It is unclear whether a regulator or a court would ever

regard a supplementary statement as sufficient to

comply with the Article 16 GDPR right to rectification

of inaccurate personal data. Unfortunately this is an

area where there is no reliable guidance from regulators,

making it a further issue on which we would urge the

relevant regulatory bodies to provide clear guidance on.

3 - Potential solution: Rectification by deletion

To the extent it is not possible to comply with the

obligation to rectify incorrect personal data by a

supplementary statement, it would be necessary to

look to the methods outlined above to enable deletion

of incorrect personal data (for example, deletion by

encryption) followed by addition of the correct personal

data to the blockchain. Because a data subject might

request that incorrect personal data about them of any

age be rectified, pruning of the blockchain may not offer

an effective solution.

Pending guidance from a data protection regulator that in

certain circumstances a supplementary statement might

be sufficient, it is prudent to ensure any GDPR-governed

blockchain solution facilitates the effective deletion of

incorrect personal data and permits correct personal data

to be substituted in its place.

34 I GDPR and the Blockchain

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