Donna Lu reports:
To protect privacy, data collected about us is sometimes anonymised before being used, such as for scientific research or by advertising companies wanting to hone their algorithms. The process involves removing personally identifiable information – including direct identifiers like names or photographs, and combinations of indirect identifiers such as workplace, occupation, salary and age.
Data anonymisation is supposed to be irreversible, but it’s relatively easy to reverse engineer the process, as Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye at Imperial College London and colleagues have found. This is because the more pieces of data you have about someone the more likely it becomes they are the only person who fits the bill. However, all is not lost. New techniques will help the fight for privacy, as De Montjoye explains.
Read more on New Scientist.