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NSF Funds Data Anonymization Project 36

Posted by Soulskill
from the maybe-facebook-will-donate dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "A group of researchers from Purdue University has been awarded $1.5 million from the National Science Foundation to help fund an ongoing project that's investigating how well current techniques for anonymizing data are working and whether there's a need for better methods. The grant will help to further research from computer scientists and linguists, who are looking at ways in which people can still be identified through textual clues even after explicitly identifiable data has been removed. The Purdue anonymization project has been ongoing for some time, and also includes researchers from a number of other institutions, including Indiana University and the Kinsey Institute."
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NSF Funds Data Anonymization Project

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @02:04PM (#34103516)

    It works!

    Can I pick up my grant check now?

    • by drunkennewfiemidget (712572) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @02:14PM (#34103648) Homepage

      We wish you could, but we don't know who to write the cheque out to.

    • Sorry Rob,

      With that number next to your "anonymous" name, #34103516, you might as well just have given us your full social security number.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by zkp (1634437)
        There are many bits of information we can glean!
        1. Your "anonymous" name, #34103516
        2. Date and Time: (Tuesday, November 02 @ 6:04PM)
        3. You were one of the first posts so you probably read Slashdot often. Also, you probably visit Slashdot regularly around 6:00 PM.
        4. Writing Style: Short messages, funny

          So I could search for regular Slashdot users who tend to be active around 6:00 PM, post brief messages, and are often one of the first to comment. Narrow down that list to users who actually did log in on 1
  • Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @02:05PM (#34103532)
    I wonder if they could get a larger grant from Google or Facebook or the NSA or [insert large organization name here] to get a guaranteed result of "things are just fine, nothing to see here"?
    • by natehoy (1608657)

      No, that would be wrong, of course. They'd never be able to accept a grant. It could never happen. Ever.

      But only because, technically, it's called a bribe, not a grant. If you want to call it a grant, you have to put it in quotes, as in: "I wonder if they could get a larger "grant" from..."

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Now why would the NSA be interested in technology that could identify anonymous posters using "textual clues even after explicitly identifiable data has been removed"? That's just silly talk.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, but I read NSF Funds, and thought, why is slashdot doing a story on my wife?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kmoser (1469707)
        I read it as "NSFW" and thought the same thing: why is Slashdot doing a story on your wife?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @02:25PM (#34103772)

    "The grant will help to further research from computer scientists and linguists, who are looking at ways in which people can still be identified through textual clues even after explicitly identifiable data has been removed." SHOULD READ

    "The grant will help to further research from computer scientists, linguists, AND the N.S.A. who are looking at ways in which people can still be identified through textual clues even after explicitly identifiable data has been removed."

    Yours In Krasnoyarsk,
    Kilgore T.

  • NSF (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Combatso (1793216) on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @02:28PM (#34103812)
    Headline had me thinking the science grants were returned Non Sufficient Funds... thats a sign of a really bad economy.
    • by bhcompy (1877290)
      Yea, seriously. It's the Non/In Sufficient Funds funds
      • by Combatso (1793216)
        you mean everytime i drop an NSF and my bank charges me 20 dollars, that 20 dollars goes to fund Data Anonymization... but there is no way to know for sure, because they didn't catch the guys name who they gave my money to.
    • Even after getting that it was about the National Science Foundation providing funding for a research grant, I was still reading (for a while) to see what it had to do with kiting cheques. :-/ "You can take the nerd out of the trailer park..."
  • Interesting Spin (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 02, 2010 @02:44PM (#34103964)

    The research is actually into data mining, not some new forms of encryption/anonymization.

    I'm sure the results will provide insight that may lead to better anonymization, but I bet framing the whole thing around the more popular side of that spectrum makes it sell better.

  • So, is this a good development or a bad development? If the finding better ways to identify people leads to better ways to remove that information then it is better?

    Or is it better because it will help us not remain anonymous when we donate to our favorite cause and that organization is in some way involved in US politics?

  • governemnt entity(CIA+NSA)* national security + keylogger or trojan = we ownz all your base (where base = data). Anonymiztion HAH.
  • For better anonymization, you could run the data though google translate a few times. That'll guarantee that it's anonymized.

A CONS is an object which cares. -- Bernie Greenberg.

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