A while back I linked to a piece on Gizmodo that tried to puzzle out James Comey’s Twitter handle. The Guardian has written a piece in a similar vein, explaining how “anonymized” data can often be pieced back together.
And it’s only getting worse as people spend more of their lives online, sprinkling digital breadcrumbs that can be traced back to them to violate their privacy in ways they never expected.
Working in prospect research, I understand some of the ways seemingly innocuous pieces of data might be strung together to reveal a piece of information that was intended to be private, but the scale of these examples is staggering.
In later work, Sweeney showed that 87% of the population of the United States could be uniquely identified by their date of birth, gender and five-digit zip codes.