Time marches inexorably on and each day government bureaucracy at every level, health services, financial institutions and even retail outlets are all squirreling away information about each and every one of us in data bases both large and small.
Whenever one inquires about the safety of such databases the assurance received usually goes along the line that there is nothing to worry about - a high level of data security surrounds personally identifiable information and, it would be hard to identify individuals from those information blocs held in long-term digital storage (for comparison/research purposes) because the data has been anonymized.
However, this is apparently not the case. Due to the large number of public databases accessible on the Internet and by application to various institutions/agencies, it really isn't all that anonymous because most information can be mined and/or manually cross-checked. Thus potentially allowing re-identification of an individual and the information held concerning that person or family.
Computer scientists have recently undermined our faith in the privacy-protecting power of anonymization, the name for techniques for protecting the privacy of individuals in large databases by deleting information like names and social security numbers. These scientists have demonstrated they can often 'reidentify' or 'deanonymize' individuals hidden in anonymized data with astonishing ease. By understanding this research, we will realize we have made a mistake, labored beneath a fundamental misunderstanding, which has assured us much less privacy than we have assumed. This mistake pervades nearly every information privacy law, regulation, and debate, yet regulators and legal scholars have paid it scant attention...
"For almost every person on earth, there is at least one fact about them stored in a computer database that an adversary could use to blackmail, discriminate against, harass, or steal the identity of him or her. I mean more than mere embarrassment or inconvenience; I mean legally cognizable harm. Perhaps it is a fact about past conduct, health, or family shame. For almost every one of us, then, we can assume a hypothetical 'database of ruin,' the one containing this fact but until now splintered across dozens of databases on computers around the world, and thus disconnected from our identity. Reidentification has formed the database of ruin and given access to it to our worst enemies." With the Rudd Government seemingly stacked with politicians in love with the idea of big data bases and, Health Minister Nicola Roxon's e-health card (with its unique personal identifier within each chip) bearing down on ordinary citizens going quietly about their business in 2010-11, this is a problem we all need to consider carefully. As government legislation will not stop personal privacy being invaded (it can only provide mechanisms to rectify or penalise after the fact) and the hope that IT software will dam the information outflow is fast receding.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
[Adopted and proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948]
Hi! My name is Boy. I'm a male bi-coloured tabby cat. Ever since I discovered that Malcolm Turnbull's dogs were allowed to blog, I have been pestering Clarencegirlto allow me a small space on North Coast Voices.
An administration #FAIL musing: NSW Industrial Relations Commission, Monday 15 December 2014 2:00pm, Report Back via Tele Conference IRC14/833 - USU & Clarence Valley Council re alleged treatment of member.
An Eddie Obeidmusing: Sydney Dowling Centre Local Court, 18 December 2014 9.30am, Mentions (Police), R v Edward Moses Obeid, Case Numbers 201400345493 & 201400345512.
A surveyingmusing: Some voters in the NSW Clarence electorate are wondering if Reachtel's early desire to find out which local political aspirants they might prefer in the March 2015 state election is being paid for by the National Party, as it tries to decide how much money to spend on the incumbent MP Chris Lazybones Gulaptis' re-election campaign.
An everyone speak up!musing: Word around the catnip patch is that Voices for Clarence had its official opening today. This Facebook page is a platform for people in the Clarence Valley to share knowledge and information in the Clarence Electorate ahead of the March 2015 NSW State Election. Get over there folks and start the ball rolling!
A this won't end wellmusing: Clarence Valley Council is on the NSW Industrial Relations Commission court list once again, Monday 1 December 2014 3:00pm Compulsory Conference IRC14/833 - USU & Clarence Valley Council re alleged treatment of member. Given the unhealthy corporate culture that appears to have developed since 2011 I can’t see this ending well for council.
Athought to ponder musing:
In case of bushfire or flood - do you have an emergency evacuation plan for the family pet?
An adoptionmusing: Every week on the NSW North Coast a number of cats and dogs find themselves without a home. If you want to do your bit and give one bundle of joy a new family, contact Happy Paws on 0419 404 766 or your local council pound.