Ann Cavoukian and Dan Castro recently published a report titled Big Data and Innovation, Setting the Record Straight: De-Identification Does Work. Arvind Narayanan and Edward Felten wrote a critique of this report, which they highlighted on Freedom to Tinker. Today Khaled El Emam and Luk Arbuckle respond on the FPF blog with this guest post.
Why de-identification is a key solution for sharing data responsibly
Khaled El Emam (University of Ottawa, CHEO Research Institute & Privacy Analytics Inc.)
Luk Arbuckle (CHEO Research Institute, Privacy Analytics Inc.)
Arvind Narayanan and Edward Felten have responded to a recent report by Ann Cavoukian and Dan Castro (Big Data and Innovation, Setting the Record Straight: De-Identification Does Work) by claiming that de-identification is “not a silver bullet” and “still does not work.” The authors are misleading on both counts. First, no one, certainly not Cavoukian or Castro, claims that de-identification is a silver bullet, if by that you mean that de-identification is the modern equivalent of the medieval, magic weapon that could always and inexplicably defeat otherwise unconquerable foes like werewolves and vampires. Second, and to get away from unhelpful metaphors, de-identification does work, both in theory and in practice, and there is ample evidence that that’s true. Done properly, de-identification is a reliable and indispensable technique for sharing data in a responsible way that protects individuals.
Read more on Future of Privacy Forum.