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漂流瓶终于彻底拜拜 微信7.0.4新版体验
微信漂流瓶被玩坏了 聊聊漂流瓶里那些事
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借贷宝:停止催收百名裸条女大学生 未满23岁将不得借贷
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How "anonymous" wifi data can still be a privacy risk
如何“匿名”WiFi数据仍然是隐私风险

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编辑: 1   作者: Techcrunch   时间: 2018/11/1 4:20:38  

The thorny issue of tracking of location data without risking individual privacy is very neatly illustrated via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking London's transport regulator to release the "anonymized" data-set it generated from a four week trial last year when it tracked metro users in the UK capital via wi-fi nodes and the MAC address of their smartphones?as they traveled around its network.

At the time?TfL announced the pilot it said the data collected would be "automatically de-personalised". Its press release further added that it would not be able to identify any individuals.

It said it wanted to use the data to better understand crowding and "collective travel patterns" so that "we can improve services and information provision for customers".

(Though it's since emerged TfL may also be hoping to generate additional marketing revenue using the data - by, a spokesman specifies, improving its understanding of footfall around in-station marketing assets, such as digital posters and billboards, so not by selling data to third parties to target digital advertising at mobile devices.)

Press coverage of the TfL wi-fi tracking trial has typically described the collected data as?anonymized and aggregated.

Those Londoners not wanting to be tracked during the pilot, which took place between November 21 and December 19 last year, had to actively to switch off the wi-fi on their devices. Otherwise their journey data was automatically harvested when they used 54 of the 270 stations on the London Underground network - even if they weren't logged onto/using station wi-fi networks at the time.

However in an email seen by TechCrunch, TfL has now turned down an FOI request asking for it to?release the "full dataset of anonymized data for the London Underground Wifi Tracking Trial" - arguing that it can't release the data as there is a risk of individuals being re-identified (and disclosing personal data would be a breach of UK data protection law).

"Although the MAC address data has been pseudonymised, personal data as defined under the [UK] Data Protection Act 1998 is data which relate to a living individual who can be identified from the data, or from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller," TfL writes in the FOI response in which it refuses to release the dataset.

"Given the possibility that the pseudonymised data could, if it was matched against other data sets, in certain circumstances enable the identification of an individual, it is personal data. The likelihood of this identification of an individual occurring would be increased by a disclosure of the data into the public domain, which would increase the range of other data sets against which it could be matched."

So what value is there in data being "de-personalized" - and a reassuring narrative of 'safety via anonymity' being spun to smartphone users whose comings and goings are being passively tracked - if individual privacy could still be compromised?

At this point we’ve seen enough examples of data sets being sold and re-identified or shared and re-identified that for large scale data-sets that are being collected claims of anonymity are dubious - or at least need to be looked at very carefully.