Aggregate and anonymised data

I referred to a case in Scotland in a comment made on a post concerning IP addresses seen as personal data in Germany. In subsequent comments I mention a court case in Scotland… here is the court case I was referring to, it is taken from my book:

“Aggregate data is information that is grouped for analysis, typically stated in percentages. An example is that 87% of children use the computer regularly in Sweden. Anonymous data is information that is not personally identifiable because it is not linked directly or indirectly with any unique individual and could be that it has been stripped of unique identifiers. This can be data that has had the PII stripped to convert it into aggregate data.

How anonymous the data really is after stripping PII is open to discussion. For example in July 2008 the House of Lords overruled the Scottish Information Commissioner’s decision to allow the release of anonymised regional medical statistics, saying that the data were still private and thus covered under the UK’s Data Protection Act. The controversy stems from a request by a Scottish parliamentary researcher for leukaemia data related to children in the 0–14 years of age group from a specific postal region. The Lords’ ruling was based on the low rate of incidents, which could have made it possible to correlate the data with individuals in spite of the fact that the data had been anonymised ( 2008).”

PII is Personal Identifiable Information

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