UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

A deterministic approach for protecting privacy in sensitive personal data

Avraam, Demetris; Jones, Elinor; Burton, Paul; (2022) A deterministic approach for protecting privacy in sensitive personal data. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making , 22 (1) , Article 24. 10.1186/s12911-022-01754-4. Green open access

[thumbnail of s12911-022-01754-4.pdf]
Preview
Text
s12911-022-01754-4.pdf - Published Version

Download (2MB) | Preview

Abstract

Background: Data privacy is one of the biggest challenges for any organisation which processes personal data, especially in the area of medical research where data include sensitive information about patients and study participants. Sharing of data is therefore problematic, which is at odds with the principle of open data that is so important to the advancement of society and science. Several statistical methods and computational tools have been developed to help data custodians and analysts overcome this challenge. Methods: In this paper, we propose a new deterministic approach for anonymising personal data. The method stratifies the underlying data by the categorical variables and re-distributes the continuous variables through a k nearest neighbours based algorithm. Results: We demonstrate the use of the deterministic anonymisation on real data, including data from a sample of Titanic passengers, and data from participants in the 1958 Birth Cohort. Conclusions: The proposed procedure makes data re-identification difficult while minimising the loss of utility (by preserving the spatial properties of the underlying data); the latter means that informative statistical analysis can still be conducted.

Type: Article
Title: A deterministic approach for protecting privacy in sensitive personal data
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12911-022-01754-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12911-022-01754-4
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Keywords: Data privacy, Deterministic anonymisation, Disclosure risk, Information loss, k nearest neighbours
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Statistical Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10143920
Downloads since deposit
69Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item