You’re very easy to track down, even when your data has been anonymized

    Date23 Jul 2019
    CategoryPrivacy
    1461
    Posted ByBrittany Day
    Privacy Getty

    A new study reveals that you can be easily re-identified from almost any database, even when your personal details have been stripped out. Keep reading to learn the details.

    The data trail we leave behind us grows all the time. Most of it isn’t that interesting—the takeout meal you ordered, that shower head you bought online—but some of it is deeply personal: your medical diagnoses, your sexual orientation, or your tax records.

    The most common way public agencies protect our identities is anonymization. This involves stripping out obviously identifiable things such as names, phone numbers, email addresses, and so on. Data sets are also altered to be less precise, columns in spreadsheets are removed, and “noise” is introduced to the data. Privacy policies reassure us that this means there’s no risk we could be tracked down in the database.

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