FPF Archive

The Blog

June 19, 2014 | Joseph Jerome

Making Perfect De-Identification the Enemy of Good De-Identification

This week, Ann Cavoukian and Dan Castro waded into the de-identification debate with a new whitepaper, arguing that the risk of re-identification has been greatly exaggerated and that de-identification will play a central role in the age of big data. FPF has repeatedly called for the need for informed conversations about what practical de-identification requires, […]

The Blog

March 27, 2014 | FPF Staff

MAC Addresses and De-Identification

Location analytics companies log the hashed MAC address of mobile devices in range of their sensors at airports, malls, retail locations, stadiums and other venues. They do so primarily in order to create statistical reports that provide useful aggregated information such as average wait times on line, store “hot spots,” and the percentage of devices […]

The Blog

March 4, 2014 | Joseph Jerome

White House/MIT Big Data Privacy Workshop Recap

Speaking for everyone snowed-in in DC, White House Counselor John Podesta remarked that “big snow trumped big data,” while on the phone to open the first of the Obama Administration’s three big data and privacy workshops.  This first workshop focused on advancing the “start of the art” in technology and practice.  While these workshops are ultimately the […]

The Blog

May 2, 2013 | Joseph Jerome

New Study Shows Need for De-identification Best Practices

Publically releasing sensitive information is risky.  In 1997, Latanya Sweeney used full date of birth, 5 digit ZIP code, and gender to show that seemingly anonymous medical data could be linked to an actual person when she uncovered the health information of William Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts.   Sweeney in a new study analyzes […]