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De-identification is a process in which any information is prevented from being connected to an individual. The best example of this is during medical or scientific research where a human subject is needed. The information obtained in this kind of practice is normally de-identified so the participant’s privacy may be maintained. If an individual’s information is leaked without consent, they may get in touch with corporate lawyers in Sydney to ask for assistance on the next steps that they should take.

Risks of De-Identification

De-identification may sound secure, but recently, it has been proven that it is not as safe as it was initially thought to be. There was a medical data set of de-identified information from patients released in 2016 and researchers from the University of Melbourne were able to create a report on the re-identification of these sets of information.

This event has proven that re-identification can be done by anyone with the right skills and knowledge. This is quite alarming as the de-identified open dataset has revealed and re-identified the longitudinal medical billing records of 10% of Australians. This percentage is equivalent to around 2.9 million people.

Corporate Lawyers in Sydney and the Mishandling of Information

Think about the possible risk of de-identified open datasets. If anyone who knows how to use a computer can learn how to re-identify the data, would you not be wary of your privacy?

Initially, it would look as if the report released by the researchers in the University of Melbourne merely exposes the poor handling of the dataset that has been released by the Department of Health. But, of course, this also exposes other underlying issues.

Sydney Business Lawyers would recommend having contractual obligations included in the agreement regarding the use and handling of personal information. The agreement and obligations should cover the purpose of the data collection and the intention behind obtaining these sets of personal information. The agreement should also cover adequate liability protections.

Other Concerns Regarding Open Data

Technology has made it easier for people to gain access to information that they can use for educational or professional purposes. However, expect that there would be some privacy implications when big high-quality data and open datasets are made available online.

As mentioned previously, there are some other underlying issues that have been brought up by the report that was released by the University of Melbourne. These complex issues include:

  • The tension and conflicts between the benefits of open data against the protection of private personal information.

  • The release, use and handling of data in a digital world.

  • The limits and risks of de-identification methods.

The best corporate lawyers in Sydney would advise you to be careful of the personal data that you release online. Many companies make use of your information for their marketing strategies—this does not necessarily mean that they would wrongly release or handle your information, but you cannot be too careful nowadays.