More Information May Not Know Your Name. But It Knows Everything


Companies like Acxiom, LexisNexis, and some argue that there is nothing to worry about in collecting and sharing complex American data, as long as their names and a few other symbols are not included. Other than that, their minds go, these “unknown” cannot be connected to people, so they are harmless.

But like me testified in the Senate last week, you can re-confirm everything. “Anonymity” is short. Even if the company does not have your name (which it may have), it can still find your address, online search history, cell phone GPS logs, and more to disable you. Yet this vicious, dangerous story continues to force lawmakers, to break the rules of secrecy.

Information for millions of Americans of all races, genders, religions, religions, political affiliations, online searches, medical advice, and GPS locations (to name a few) is on sale on the open market, and there are many advertisers, insurance companies, loan companies, law firms in the United States, scammers, and domestic and foreign tyrants (to name a few) who want to pay. There is no data circulation lease.

Many advertisers claim that there is no reason to control it, because what they buy and sell “does not connect with people” because you do not have, say, “a name” on their page describing millions of American mental illnesses. Creditan credit reporting company, for example, he says its sharing of information with other people also includes what is “not personal, anonymous, or anonymous.” Yodlee, the largest financial broker in the US, is he said that all data sold in America is “anonymous.” But organizations claiming such “anonymity” protect people from being harmed are false.

There is, of course, some differences between the data containing your name (or social security number, or some other identifiable identifier) ​​attached to it without it. However, the difference is small, and it decreases as the data grows. Think of an interesting story for yourself: If you share spaghetti carbonara with your favorite food in a hall of 1,000 people, it is possible that someone in the room would say the same thing. The same is true of your favorite race, destination, or candidate in the next election. But if you name 50 interesting facts about yourself, the chances of everyone asking for someone else go down. Someone provided a list of 50 items, so that, in the end, they could look at the little history for you.

This also applies to companies with large data sets. For example, some large brokers like Acxiom advertise thousands or thousands of personal items. Likewise (from your sexual preferences and the amount of money you earn, receipts for purchases and travel to markets, city, or country), each person’s profile appears unique. That depth (from online search to 24/7 GPS smartphones to the level provided by the product), the many single data in each person’s profile can also be unique. It is easy for corporations — and anyone who buys, licenses, or steals — to link all these to other people. Data advertisers and other companies also process their data other than the name in order to do this, as is mobile advertising identifiers are used to track people on pages and devices.

Recognition has been extremely easy. In 2006, when AOL published a search of 650,000 users for 20 million users, with names that were changed with random numbers, The New York Times very quickly connected the hunt for real people. (“It didn’t take much,” the authors wrote.) Two years later, the famous UT Austin researchers the same More than 500,000 videos of Netflix users were “anonymous” against IMDb and identified the users as well as “visually appealing political and other potentially confidential information.” When researchers searched for data from the New York City government, anonymously, during each taxi ride in the city, they simply could not back from poorly designed horses to detect 91 percent of taxis, too divided driver fees.

The irony of data makers claiming that “anonymity” is harmless is absurd: All of their businesses and marketing are based on the idea that they can follow curiously, understand, and follow individuals.



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