Algorithms Can Identify You Based Upon As Little As 15 Character Attributes, Wharton Reports

Does privacy still exist? If you are new to this information, you will probably be shocked, surprised, and terrified by what you are about to read.

“A research paper published in Nature Communications last month showed how easy re-identification can be: A computer algorithm could identify 99.98% of Americans by knowing as few as 15 attributes per person, not including names or other unique data. Even earlier, a 2012 study showed that just by tracking people’s Facebook ‘Likes,’ researchers could identify if someone was Caucasian or African-American with a 95% certainty, male or female (93%), or gay (88%); whether they drink (70%); or if they used drugs (65%)”.

“Most people don’t realize that even if personal information is stripped away or is not collected directly, it’s often possible to link certain information with a person’s identity by correlating the information with other datasets,” says Kevin Werbach, Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor. “It’s a challenging issue because there are so many different kinds of uses data could be put to.” …Read more

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