Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protecting privacy: Make the data 'fade away' like footsteps in the sand

Date:
June 10, 2010
Source:
University of Twente
Summary:
However well we protect our data, sooner or later we run the risk of information we want to keep private ending up in the public domain. So how can we see information fade away over time? If we could let details gradually disappear from view this would drastically reduce privacy-related problems while ensuring that the information still retains its usefulness to some extent.

Experts are advocating a method whereby information is allowed to fade away over time "like footprints in the sand."
Credit: Copyright Michele Hogan

However well we protect our data, sooner or later we run the risk of information we want to keep private ending up in the public domain. Researcher Harold van Heerde of the Centre for Telematics and Information Technology (CTIT) at the University of Twente therefore wants information to fade away over time: just let the details gradually disappear from view. This would drastically reduce privacy-related problems while ensuring that the information still retains its usefulness to some extent.

Related Articles


"Keeping things private doesn't bother me. I have nothing to hide." That appears to be the attitude of many Dutch citizens with regard to information that can be accessed on the internet. Internet users post personal details and photos in profiles on social networking websites such as Facebook, Hyves and LinkedIn, and are often blissfully unaware of how such information can be used or abused. Yet at the same time, there is widespread fear among the general public of their patient details being included in an Electronic Health Record and privacy protection issues have even cropped up in the political debate on road pricing.

The main focus in such public discussions is always security. Harold van Heerde argues that the focus on security alone is too narrow. He even goes so far as to claim that sound security is more or less impossible to achieve. In his view, the discussion should focus on the type of information we store, the purpose behind storing it and how long we store it for.

Footprints in the sand

He is therefore advocating a method whereby information is allowed to fade away over time "like footprints in the sand." This will allow the service provider who needs to use the information to make use of it for some time, while ensuring that useful details will no longer be accessible to those who might want to abuse them. This would entail making prior agreements about how long information should be kept and how quickly it should be allowed to fade away. The key is to strike a balance between the usefulness of the data and the length of time for which it is stored.

Harold van Heerde insists that this calls for a whole new approach to databases: current systems are optimized for long-term data storage and access, not for allowing data to simply fade away.. That is why new techniques are needed to allow data to be efficiently and irretrievably erased. In his dissertation, van Heerde reviews storage structures, indexing methods and log mechanisms and shows that data degradation is a realistic model that can be implemented with an acceptable loss of performance.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Twente. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Twente. "Protecting privacy: Make the data 'fade away' like footsteps in the sand." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609094659.htm>.
University of Twente. (2010, June 10). Protecting privacy: Make the data 'fade away' like footsteps in the sand. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609094659.htm
University of Twente. "Protecting privacy: Make the data 'fade away' like footsteps in the sand." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609094659.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) It has been a long, busy year for Net Neutrality. The stage is set for an expected landmark FCC decision sometime in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazon Offering One-Hour Delivery Through Prime Now

Amazon Offering One-Hour Delivery Through Prime Now

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Amazon is now offering one-hour delivery to Amazon Prime members in Manhattan and hopes to expand to other cities soon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jaguar Unveils 360 Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Jaguar Unveils 360 Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Jaguar unveils a virtual 360 degree windshield that may be the most futuristic automotive development yet. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins