By 2021, organizations that bypass privacy requirements and are caught lacking in privacy protection will pay 100% more in compliance costs than competitors that adhere to best practice. (Gartner- Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019: A Gartner Trend Insight Report).
Applying anonymization techniques to your data can bring some considerable benefits and liberate you from certain obligations set out in GDPR or California Consumer Privacy Act. Do you know for example that if you want to anonymize new data collected from your website, then you’ll either need to obtain consent to collect personal data (like cookies, IP addresses and device ID) and then apply anonymization techniques, or only collect anonymous data from the start? This is why any business is concerned about anonymization.
Data Anonymization is considered a data processing technique that modifies or delete personal information resulting in anonymized data that cannot be attributed to any individual. It is mainly a process of detecting and removing sensitive data from a document while keeping its original format. Which kind of data is that? What must be removed and what is allowed to remain? According to the GDPR, personal data in a digital area can be anything from a name, a home address, a photo, an e-mail address, bank details or even IP address.
Benefits and Applications of Anonymization
The most important benefit of using this Anonymization technique is that the data resulting from it, is not considered personal data regarding the requirements of the GDPR. Data is secure and business will not need any permission to process it. This anonymized data has the potential for many more applications: it can even be sold, stored for indefinite time or exported abroad.
Using Anonymization offers benefits such as the following:
- Stronger information security and counterpart for cybersecurity measures
- Risk minimization regarding information transfers
- Possible information reuse
- Application of automated Big Data techniques
- Cost-saving resulting from a reduction of fines due to law enforcement
Many industries are now taking advantage from this technique as, for instance, the health industry for medical documents or in law firms for data processing tasks or automotive sector to manage customer opinions.
The Bitext Anonymization services, including GDPR, are based on an entity extraction technique in which each entity is classified according to its grammatical attributes and position in a sentence. There is a tool that extracts the relevant named entities (personal names, places, companies, addresses, dates, phone numbers, etc.) and even offensive language (insulting, rude and vulgar language, swear words...) replacing them with an expression or special token. This task can seem easy, but each language can have up to five thousand forms in its verbal conjugation, so lemmatizing is crucial. To do that, not only must the spelling of a word be considered, but also its linguistic attributes which make it different from its homographs, avoiding misperceptions. Here you can see some examples of anonymized data:
If performed correctly, Anonymization is definitely the best method to ensure the safety of data collected on the net.
Do you want to know more about Anonymization?