Ontology-Based Obfuscation and Anonymisation for Privacy

Abstract: Healthcare Information Systems typically fall into the group of systems in which the need of data sharing conflicts with the privacy. A myriad of these systems have to, however, constantly communicate among each other. One of the ways to address the dilemma between data sharing and privacy is to use data obfuscation by lowering data accuracy to guarantee patient’s privacy while retaining its usefulness. Even though many obfuscation methods are able to handle numerical values, the obfuscation of non-numerical values (e.g., textual information) is not as trivial, yet extremely important to preserve data utility along the process. In this paper, we preliminary investigate how to exploit ontologies to create obfuscation mechanism for releasing personal and electronic health records (PHR and EHR) to selected audiences with different degrees of obfuscation. Data minimisation and access control should be supported to enforce different actors, e.g., doctors, nurses and managers, will get access to no more information than needed for their tasks. Besides that, ontology-based obfuscation can also be used for the particular case of data anonymisation. In such case, the obfuscation has to comply with a specific criteria to provide anonymity, so that the data set could be safely released. This research contributes to: state the problems in the area; review related privacy and data protection legal requirements; discuss ontology-based obfuscation and anonymisation methods; and define relevant healthcare use cases. As a result, we present the early concept of our Ontology-based Data Sharing Service (O-DSS) that enforces patient’s privacy by means of obfuscation and anonymisation functions.

Citation: Iwaya, Leonardo H. and Giunchiglia, Fausto and Martucci, Leonardo A. and Hume, Alethia and Fischer-H{\”u}bner, Simone and Chenu-Abente, Ronald, “Ontology-Based Obfuscation and Anonymisation for Privacy”, In “Privacy and Identity Management. Time for a Revolution? 10th IFIP WG 9.2, 9.5, 9.6/11.7, 11.4, 11.6/SIG 9.2.2 International Summer School, Edinburgh, UK, August 16-21, 2015, Revised Selected Papers”, 2016, Springer International Publishing, Cham, pages 343–358, isbn 978-3-319-41763-9, doi 10.1007/978-3-319-41763-9_23, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-41763-9_23. New York, USA, July 2016.

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About P. Andreadis

Pre-Doctoral Research Assistant in AI and Social Computation @ University of Edinburgh.

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