Four purchases with the card are enough to identify ...

Four purchases with the card are enough to identify …

February 2, 2015

A group of researchers from the Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has designed a pair of mathematical algorithms that allow identifying a person based on their shopping habits. They got a large bank in an OECD country (for obvious reasons, they don’t say which bank or which country) to let them apply their algorithms to a database with the electronic payment transactions of 1.1 million customers in a few 10,000 stores during the months of January and March 2014.

“With an average of four transactions, the day and the store, it is enough to uniquely identify people in 90% of cases,” says MIT researcher and co-author of the research, Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye.

via Internet Privacy: Four purchases with the card are enough to identify anyone | Science | THE COUNTRY.

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