This is an open-ended question which I am analysing while doing some fun projects in leisure. Websites like Google, Facebook do store user activities and perhaps sell them or use them for advertisements. But I believe anonymity is maintained. For instance, I need to expose that there are 5 people between age 45-50 who are drug-addicts in a given area... but I don't want to offer the names of the people. In fact I want to be sure that noone can access their names, otherwise resulting in privacy violation (Sorry for the weird example !)

Is there some tool/standard which everyone(especially smaller organizations) follow to limit legal complications due to identity theft like this ?

I am tagging MongoDB and Java, as I am using these technologies and answers specific to them would be easier to implement.

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    The easiest is: don't store any personally identifying information, or at the very least ensure that there are no links in the database between this information and the information that forms the basis for your demographics. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Dec 29 '13 at 12:09
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    Don't forget, if you're showing aggregated numbers, it may be possible to identify people by comparing various totals and using a process of elimination. When working with healthcare data in the UK, totals less than five are not shown in order to reduce the risk of this. The necessity and level at which small numbers are suppressed depends on the number and sensitivity of the data. – Matthew Swain Jan 2 '14 at 21:12

There is a company in my area (no I do not work for them or have any connection with them, although I did interview for a job there some time back) that does what they call "Anonymizing Health Data". While they have various software solutions, the CEO and team have also produced a number of references that might be helpful in solving your problem. The list of books on their website can be found at:


I suggest starting with those references and then seeing if there are more specific questions as to functionality that we might help you with.

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