In The Mix…predicting the future; releasing healthcare claims; and $1.5 millions awarded to data privacy

November 30th, 2010 by Becky Pezely

Some people out there think they can predict the future by scraping content off the web. Does it work simply because web 2.0 technologies are great at creating echo chambers? Is this just another way of amplifying that echo chamber and generating yet more self-fulfilling trend prophecies? See the Future with a Search (MIT Technology Review)

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management wants to create a huge database that contains healthcare claims of millions of. Many are concerned for how the data will be protected and used. More federal health database details coming following privacy alarm (Computer World)

Researchers at Purdue were awarded $1.5 million to investigate how well current techniques for anonymizing data are working and whether there’s a need for better methods. It would be interesting to know what they think of differential privacy. They  appear to be actually doing the dirty work of figuring out whether theoretical re-identification is more than just a theory. National Science Foundation Funds Purdue Data-Anonymization Project (Threat Post)

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One Response to “In The Mix…predicting the future; releasing healthcare claims; and $1.5 millions awarded to data privacy”

  1. Adam Smith says:

    The Purdue award is not the only large award of this type funded recently by the NSF. For example, this large award in three parts (Penn State, Cornell, Carnegie-Mellon):

    http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=0941553
    http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=0941226
    http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=0941518

    There were also quite a few smaller awards (on the order of $300k-$500k) handed out by the Trustworthy Computing program over the last few years on topics closely related to data privacy (and even specifically on differential privacy).

    And Brad Malin from Vanderbilt, who works on the confidentiality of medical information, was nominated this year for a PECASE (Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers) by the NIH.

    All in all, the federal funding agencies seem to have recognized the importance of the topic…


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