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Re: anonymous or no?

From: Renato Iannella <renato@iannella.it>
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2010 11:02:27 +1000
Message-Id: <79D8CB23-EB72-410B-8BFE-23555205AA6B@iannella.it>
To: public-privacy@w3.org

On 12 Aug 2010, at 04:49, David Singer wrote:

> But now, as we know, people are getting very good at re-identification.  Clearly I don't like it if someone says "I'm 95% sure that the guy who bought these five books, is that Dave Singer who attends the W3C".  I'd like to say "not only must my records be anonymized, but re-identification should not occur either".
> But this flies directly in the face of a very long-established principle, that the analysis and drawing of conclusions from public data is a legitimate, indeed even intended, usage of that public data.  And setting that rule would also drive re-identification "underground" -- people would still do it, they just wouldn't publish the results, which is *worse*.

The analysis of "public data" would (should?) never get to the stage of identifying individuals.

In your use case, they may come up with "People who buy HTML books are more than likely to be associated with a Web Standards group"

If they did - and could identity - you as an individual, then the original "anonymisation" was flawed, and they are liable to the orginal agreement....


Renato Iannella
Received on Friday, 13 August 2010 01:03:05 UTC

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