A Letter in Science: Science and Data Privacy

science_coverIn the latest issue of Science (April 10, 2015; Vol 348 Issue 6231), my colleague Anne-Marie Meyer and I write about issues of data privacy in the “Big Data” era and the impact of privacy policy on science.  In particular, we argue that the popular push for anonymization—a natural response to high profile data breaches and ethically questionable business practices—could result in failed policy on two fronts.  First, ongoing research continues to show that even advanced anonymization practices fail to protect against individual identification.  Meanwhile, policies that require privacy protection via anonymization would render crucial data useless for clinical and public health research, waste billions of dollars of scientific investments, and slow the pace of medical progress.  Most importantly, there are alternatives that promise both better privacy protection and better science.  To read our letter and two others on related topics, click here.



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