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HITC Seminar: Brad Malin

If De-identification is Dead, Why Can’t We Bury it?

Joint lecture with the Database and Information Systems Laboratory (DAIS)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
11:00 AM Central Time
Room 3405 Siebel Center

 Video archive

Abstract: Many regulatory frameworks permit the dissemination of personal information without consent when it is “de-identified”. The intention is to facilitate the reuse of data for a wide range of endeavors, ranging from evaluation of public policies to novel research studies. However, over the past decade, a growing number of investigations illustrate that such data can be “re-identified” to the individuals from which it was collected. Despite the publication of such studies in academic and popular media forums, de-identified data is still made available and regulatory frameworks have yet to be revised. The goal of this talk is to investigate what exactly is de-identification, how its protections can be quantified in a formal computational manner, and assess if de-identification is fundamentally broken. In addition, this talk will address how de-identification could be supplanted by other data protection models, such as formal anonymization models and cryptographic mechanisms of data processing (e.g., secure multiparty computation). This talk will specifically draw upon examples from our research within a large NIH-sponsored network of medical centers sharing data derived from electronic medical and genomic records.

Bio: Brad Malin is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, where he directs the Health Information Privacy Laboratory (HIPLab). Under his direction, the HIPLab has developed various approaches to trustworthy health data management, including intelligent auditing technologies to protect electronic medical records from misuse in the context of primary care and algorithms to formally anonymize patient information disseminated for secondary research purposes. Research artifacts from the HIPLab have received several awards of distinction from the American and International Medical Informatics Associations. Beyond his scientific work, he has assisted various regulatory bodies in reasoning about the interplay of data privacy technologies and policy. In 2010, Dr. Malin was honored as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). He completed his education at Carnegie Mellon University, where he received a bachelor’s in biological sciences, a master’s in data mining and knowledge discovery, a master’s in public policy and management, and a doctorate in computer science. Further information can be found at Brad Malin’s website.

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