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.
. Hearing Dates: 14 July 2014. Decision Date: 24/07/2014. Jurisdiction: Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division. Before: Professor G.D. Walker, Senior Member. Decision: The decision under review is affirmed.
A little less than Magnum musing:
So who was the person rumoured to have been lurking in the vicinity of Osprey Drive, Yamba, allegedly keeping tabs on Clarence Valley Council staffer/s?
An it's in the eyes musing:
The Australian media is trying to convince readers that how the Prime Minister looks indicates the degree to which the MH17 passenger plane downing in the Ukraine is affecting him. G'aaarn! This is a man who to win an election put bulking product in his hair and darkened it, used a skin tightening product on his face to get rid of many wrinkles, used enough makeup to make a thespian blush and, barefacedly lied at the drop of the hat. A meeting round the catnip patch has decided 4 to 1 that it would not be beyond the wiles of Tony Abbott to irritate his eyes to achieve a suitably "stressed" look for his many media appearances since the mid-air disaster.
after Clarence Valley Council sacked the operators of the public pool at Maclean – apparently leaving it to a local journalist to tell them they had lost their jobs.
A thought to ponder:
In case of bushfire or flood - do you have an emergency evacuation plan for the family pet?
An adoption musing: 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.