Randomization - IBM's answer to Web privacy

Tuesday, 4 June 2002, 11:12 AM EST

IBM Corp's new Privacy Institute has decided that randomization may be the key to protecting consumer privacy on the web while also providing e-businesses with informative metrics on their customers.

Thursday last week, the company said it has developed software that ensures consumers' sensitive data never leaves their computers in an accurate form, but can be reassembled at the back end in aggregate. IBM is looking for partners to develop the software.

"What we wanted to do is to protect users' privacy... but we also wanted businesses to get good information," said Rakesh Agrawal, who headed up the project. "The dilemma was how to balance those two objectives, how do you have your cake and eat it?"

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