IBM has launched a new product which allows organisations to share customer information without revealing private or sensitive personal details.
IBM says its DB2 Anonymous Resolution technology is designed for financial services, retail and other industries that share customer information. The product prevents unintentional information disclosure by protecting - or "anonymising" - the identity of individuals within their respective data repositories.
The system uses irreversible "digital signatures" and advanced techniques for correlating this data while remaining in the "anonymised" form. This prevents data from being observed in its original form, thereby helping reduce the risk of misuse or accidental exposure.
"With the recent rise in identity theft and unintentional information disclosure, customers across all industries are telling us that the ability to safely and securely share data is a top priority for their businesses," says John Slitz, VP IBM Entity Analytics. "DB2 Anonymous Resolution makes it possible for companies to openly share their personally identifiable information in a manner that is more secure than transferring clear text or even encrypted data."
The product uses IBM's Entity Resolution technology to resolve data and determine who is who across multiple disparate data sets. The system is able to determine when identities are the same without relying on a master person key and despite the natural variability found in identity data. The software is also able to discover non-obvious relationships between identities, such as shared phone numbers, addresses or bank accounts.
IBM acquired the technology when it bought out Las Vegas-based Systems Research and Development (SRD) in January this year.