A new patent filing from telecommunications provider Comcast suggests the firm is looking at how to store operational data on a blockchain.
In a new patent application released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Nov. 9, the telecom outlined two types databases which would hold its customers' information. One of these databases, according to the filing, would be based on the distributed blockchain concept.
The blockchain database would hold private and identifying information for customers, and would only be accessible by certain entities. In a bid to boost transparency, the proposed system would maintain a log of every time someone accessed it.
The other database – which would still be on a distributed platform but not explicitly a blockchain – could contain location information for the user data on the other database, acting as a roadmap for entities trying to access the customer data.
As the application explains:
"The block identifies all relevant information relating to the particular data access including, for example, the particular data that was accessed, the entity that accessed the data, and the date and time of the access. After a block is generated, it is encrypted and added to the chain of existing blocks."
In the application, Comcast notes that customers use multiple systems and services to watch programming, ranging from websites like Hulu on computers to traditional televisions. It aims to collate customers' viewing habits across different platforms, creating a repository for this information.
The application is a first for Comcast, but past developments show that the company is no stranger to blockchain.
In June, Comcast partnered with Disney, NBCUniversal, Cox Communications, Mediaset Italia, Channel 4 and TF1 on creating a new blockchain-based advertising platform.
Comcast sign image via Joshua Rainey/Shutterstock