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Research Article

A Systematic Review of Re-Identification Attacks on Health Data

  • Khaled El Emam mail,

    kelemam@uottawa.ca

    Affiliations: Electronic Health Information Laboratory, CHEO Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada, Department of Paediatrics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada

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  • Elizabeth Jonker,

    Affiliation: Electronic Health Information Laboratory, CHEO Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada

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  • Luk Arbuckle,

    Affiliation: Electronic Health Information Laboratory, CHEO Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada

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  • Bradley Malin

    Affiliations: Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America

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  • Published: December 02, 2011
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028071

Reader Comments (6)

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Additional analysis on Weld re-identification

Posted by kelemam on 09 Jun 2012 at 13:03 GMT


A report has been recently published related to the re-identification of Governor Weld, which is one of the attacks we cover in our systematic review. The report provides data showing that the likelihood that the Weld attack could be replicated successfully with someone else who is not as famous as the Governor would be low. You can download it from here:

http://papers.ssrn.com/so...

This is not surprising because the Weld attack was one of those that was not well documented, but repeated so often over the years. However, this analysis, using whatever information is publicly known, suggests that such an attack was likely a special case that may not be easy to replicate on a randomly selected member of the population. This evidence further corroborates the general conclusions from this paper.

Competing interests declared: I am one of the co-authors of the paper.