Whether for advertising, for the evaluation of the usage behaviour, or to optimize the offer: tons of services, websites and companies collecting our data, by age, favorite food, to family status. In order to win the consent of the users, promise the companies that the data will be anonymized, so no longer can be assigned. A recent study now shows: This is simply wrong. Even with the least amount of data you can find in the rule, who are the people behind the data.

The detection rate is frightening: To 99.98 percent of the US Americans clearly identify, if you have access to 15 basic data of the Person, the researchers from the Imperial College in London in their “Nature” published a study. And that’s after all directly identifying data such as Name, address or E-Mail away. Even if just gender, zip code and birthday are known, it is still on average 83 percent of the U.S. citizens clearly identify.

Interview network activist on privacy “on the Basis of some data can even be used to detect whether and with whom one has an affair” By Christoph Fröhlich Shockingly accurate mapping

The logic behind this is simple. The more one attributes to know a Person, the less likely it is that another shares this combination. In the same country, millions of people share the same birthday though. It counts but only the women from a certain postal code area, drops the number drastically. With each Detail, the animal and the owner, a mother, a daughter, a vegetarian, a decline the rate further. Until eventually, in spite of anonymity clearly identified. “While the information to increase, decrease the chances that it is not you, very quickly,” quoted in “Technology Review” one of the authors of the study.

The data industry has come up with methods to maintain the anonymity. Data are less clarified – for example, in General, a pet instead of a female dog noted, individual parts of the data records are omitted for a variety of purposes, with false data, a “noise to be made additives”. But all this is of little use, the study shows: The detection rate remained high in spite of all the measures. The conclusion of the researchers: The anonymizing measures are not sufficient to meet the far-reaching EU data protection Directive DSGVO.

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In everyday life is likely to be the services often significantly more information to a single people. In 2017, were offered in a traded database data of 123 million US citizens, each with 248 attributes to purchase. Confusion is almost impossible. In Germany, which has enabled it to journalists, to browse in the collected browsing histories of three million Germans, about politicians and their Porn to-preferences. Guilt is a popular Browser Plugin that is designed to protect data was calculated. Here you can learn more.

One approach, these traceability of the individual Person from actually prevent anonymous data to, is the “differential privacy”. Here are the data of individual users will not be analyzed, but the statistical relationships are evaluated, which are then used instead of the raw data further. Apple is trying in this way to improve its own services, such as voice assistant Siri, without having to all about the users knowledge. Also next year with the upcoming U.S. census to protect the data of citizens.

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