Privacy-Preserving Data Mining

Duncan Greaves gives us a few options for mining data while maintaining user anonymity:

In pseudonymisation, matching data sets at individual row level is done using key fields, which are then pseudonymised for consumption. Candidates for key fields include those combinations that are most often used to match the datasets, e.g. DoB/Gender/Postcode, credit card numbers, IP addresses or email identifiers. Allocation of persistent pseudonyms are used to build up profiles over time to allow data mining to happen in a privacy sensitive way.

All methods for privacy aware data mining carry additional complexity associated with creating pools of data from which secondary use can be made, without compromising the identity of the individuals who provided the data. Pseudonymisation can act as the best compromise between full anonymisation and identity in many scenarios where it is essential that the identity is preserved, whilst minimising the risks of re-identification beyond reasonable means.

Read the whole thing.

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