IBM Helps Companies Put Guard Up with Privacy Software

IBM recently introduced software it says will allow companies to share and compare information, while protecting private and sensitive personal information.

DB2 Anonymous Resolution includes irreversible digital signatures, preventing data from being seen in its original form and reducing the risk of misuse or accidental exposure. The software is the latest product from IBM’s Entity Analytic Solutions, formerly known as SRD, which IBM bought in January. Entity Analytics is middleware that allows companies to build accurate and current views across an enterprise’s disparate operational databases, according to the company.

DB2 Anonymous Resolution determines when identities are the same, without relying on a master person key, such as Social Security numbers and a national ID card, and deciphering natural variabilities found in identity data, such as poor data quality, name variations, differing addresses and information that was obscured with intent for fraud. The software can discover unobvious relationships between identities, including shared phone numbers, addresses and bank accounts.

Financial services, retailers, healthcare and other organizations would be able to anonymously compare records and detect direct matches and relationships between individuals. For example, healthcare institutions would be able to share and correlate data that was stripped of personal information for medical research. Healthcare institutions would be able to eradicate duplications that have a tendency to interfere with medical research.

Judith Hurwitz, president of Hurwitz Associates, says DB2 Anonymous Resolutions would help enterprises tackling a long-standing problem of disparate customer information.

“You’ve heard of the cases of someone being pulled off an airplane because their name is similar to a terrorist,” Hurwitz says. Customers’ information is altered when they get married or divorced, they move or their name is entered wrong. The software’s concept is to understand identification and protect innocent customers, she says.

“It’s a single view of the customer and companies need to have all their bases covered,” she says. “It’s for retailers, government and anybody doing business that need to cope with who you are. [Names] have different ways of appearing in the world and there’s a broad applicability.”

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.