Browse Definitions:
Definition

de-anonymization (deanonymization)

De-anonymization is a data mining strategy in which anonymous data is cross-referenced with other data sources to re-identify the anonymous data source. 

Any information that distinguishes one data source from another can be used for de-anonymization. Although the concept of de-anonymization goes back several decades, the term made headlines in 2006 when Arvind Narayanan and Vitaly Shmatikov entered a contest hosted by Netflix, a popular movie-rental service. Narayanan and Shmatikov applied their de-anonymization methodology to a data set that contained the anonymous movie ratings of 500,000 members and were able to successfully identify Netflix data for a number of specific members. According to Narayanan and Shmatik, de-anonymization requires data that is abundant, granular and fairly stable across time and context.

As the United States government and other nations move forward with open government initiatives, more data is becoming publicly available over the Internet. Much of this data has been scrubbed to create what the government calls “limited data sets.”  Personally identifiable information (PII) such as names, addresses and social security numbers are removed from limited data sets or obfuscated through a data anonymization process so that the specific source of the data remains anonymous. This assurance of anonymity protects the source's privacy and allows the government to legally share limited data sets with third parties without requiring written permission. Such data has proved to be very valuable for researchers, particularly in health care. Privacy advocates, however, are concerned that even though the data has been scrubbed, so much of it is available that a specific individual’s identity could be re-discovered.

See also: association rules, business intelligence, opinion mining, OLAP, fuzzy logic

 

This was last updated in May 2015

Continue Reading About de-anonymization (deanonymization)

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • phishing

    Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication ...

  • vulnerability disclosure

    Vulnerability disclosure is the practice of publishing information about a computer security problem, and a type of policy that ...

  • incident response

    Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, also ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • flash memory

    Flash memory, also known as flash storage, is a type of nonvolatile memory that erases data in units called blocks.

  • NAND flash memory

    NAND flash memory is a type of nonvolatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data.

  • NOR flash memory

    NOR flash memory is one of two types of nonvolatile storage technologies.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close