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Daily Dashboard | Research: Anonymized data doesn't mean anonymous Related reading: Reflecting on the US Senate privacy law hearing and SAFE DATA Act




Research by Harvard University students shows anonymized data is not as anonymous as believed, Vice reports. A tool built by Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences students Dasha Metropolitansky and Kian Attari analyzes personally identifiable information from breaches and, despite many datasets containing “anonymized” data, the students easily identified users. Anonymized data from one company can be linked to non-anonymized data from another, revealing personal details, according to the report. 
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  • comment Andy Ketch • Feb 5, 2020
    Not all anonymized data is created well and there is a need for standards that measure data re-identification risk.  This is available but practiced at varying levels.  Not all data chefs use the right ingredients and processes to create safe data.
    It is hard to ignore the title of this Vice article as it elicits fear and doubt of data being able to be truly anonymized.  What is missing from the details is how data governance and anonymization under context are needed to create anonymous data that is safe.  There is an entire peer-reviewed and proven methodology that incorporates context as part of creating safely anonymized data.  This risk-based approach is available through HITRUST and in tools and services from Privacy Analytics. 
    Consider learning more from Luk Arbuckle and Felix Ritchie in their 5 Safes white paper here: