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[liberationtech] Opinion on a paper?

Jodi Schneider jschneider at
Sun Sep 9 12:18:10 PDT 2012


You might ask Arvind Narayanan -- reidentification is his expertise:


On Sun, Sep 9, 2012 at 5:44 PM, Paul Bernal (LAW) <Paul.Bernal at>wrote:

>  I've just come across this paper: "The 'Re-Identification' of Governor
> William Weld's Medical Information: A Critical Re-Examination of Health
> Data Identification Risks and Privacy Protections, Then and Now"
>  It can be downloaded here:
>  I wondered if anyone had an opinion on it - I don't have the technical
> knowledge to be able to evaluate it properly. The basic conclusion seems to
> be that re-identification of 'anonymised' data is not nearly as easy as we
> had previously thought (from the work of Latanya Sweeney, Paul Ohm etc).
> Are these conclusions valid?
>  My concern is that I can see this paper being used to justify all kinds
> of potentially risky information being released - particularly health data,
> which could get into the hands of insurance companies and others who could
> use it to the detriment of individuals. On the other hand, if the
> conclusions are really valid, then perhaps people like me shouldn't be as
> concerned as we are.
>  Any help would be appreciated.
>  Regards
>  Paul
>   Dr Paul Bernal
> Lecturer
> UEA Law School
> University of East Anglia
> Norwich Research Park
> Norwich NR4 7TJ
> email: paul.bernal at
> Web:
> Blog:
>  Twitter: @paulbernalUK
> --
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