Pseudo-Anonymized Data

Definition & Meaning:

Pseudo-anonymized data refers to personal data that has been processed in a way that it can no longer be attributed to a specific individual without the use of additional information.

This additional information must be kept separately and is subject to technical and organizational measures to ensure that the personal data is not attributed to an identified or identifiable individual.

The process of pseudo-anonymization reduces the privacy risks to individuals by masking their identity. Still, it is not as secure as full anonymization because the process is reversible with the right additional data.

For example, if you run a health-related website that collects user data for research, you might replace names and other direct identifiers with unique codes.

The key linking codes to real identities are stored securely and separately from the pseudo-anonymized data. This means that while the data can be used for analysis, the identities of the individuals are not readily accessible.

Pseudo-anonymization is a useful technique for businesses and researchers who need to balance the utility of data with privacy obligations.

It allows for the analysis of data patterns and trends without exposing individual identities.

However, because pseudo-anonymized data can potentially be re-identified, it is still considered personal data under privacy laws like the GDPR.

It’s important for you to implement robust security measures to protect the additional information that can link the data back to individuals.

This includes encrypting the identifiers or using advanced cryptographic techniques.

Moreover, access to the keys or additional information required for re-identification should be strictly controlled and limited to authorized personnel only.

Pseudo-anonymized data differs from anonymized data, where identification of the individual is impossible.

The distinction has significant legal implications, especially under data protection regulations, which may not apply to fully anonymized data but do apply to pseudo-anonymized data.