How To Track People And Collect Their Data Without Spooking Them

Published March 15, 2014   |   
Sharif Sakr

It’s one of the toughest problems facing any information-driven business today: How do you collect “big data” about anonymous groups of users or customers, while at the same time guaranteeing that you’re not also gathering “little data” about their private lives?

Put differently, how do you convince any sensible person in this Snowden-informed era to willingly share sensitive information that could, as everyone suspects, ultimately weave its way into the hands of aggressive marketers, security agencies or criminals?

It sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Well, maybe it is, but not if you believe researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, who have proposed a novel, cryptographic solution to the big data problem, and who have spun their technology off into a startup company called Aircloak.

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