Your anonymous data is not so anonymous

Summary:"Re-identification" -- that is, identifying the real person behind what is assumed to be "anonymous" data -- is a growing problem. SmartPlanet reports on the threat.

We cover all the latest privacy news here on ZDNet -- especially on the Zero Day and Government blogs -- but often that coverage is dedicated to identity theft and the risk that using unsecured systems poses.

But the folks at our sister site SmartPlanet say "re-identification" -- that is, identifying the real person behind what is assumed to be "anonymous" data -- is a growing problem.

Speaking with Paul Ohm, a former trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, reporter Melanie Kaplan bridges the gap between theory and actual threat.

It turns out that in the age of social media networks and sharing, it's easier than ever. Simply: deleting data does not protect the rest.

"Even computer scientists who know a lot about data are not aware of how easy reidentification has become," Ohm says.

Privacy: reidentification a growing risk [SmartPlanet]

Topics: Enterprise Software, Security


Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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