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IBM Unveils Breakthrough Software to Enhance Privacy and Increase Security

DB2 Anonymous Resolution technology enables privacy-enhancing, anonymous data sharing and correlation

ARMONK, N.Y. - 24 May 2005: IBM today introduced first-of-its-kind software that allows organizations to anonymously share and compare information without revealing private or sensitive personal details, introducing a new era of open, collaborative data sharing in financial services, healthcare, retail and other industries.

The breakthrough IBM technology, DB2 Anonymous Resolution, helps customers to rapidly and more securely share information with other organizations, while protecting - or "anonymizing" - the identity of individuals within their respective data repositories.

DB2 Anonymous Resolution expands IBM's analytics capabilities through the use of irreversible "digital signatures" and advanced techniques for correlating this data while remaining in the "anonymized" form. This enhances privacy as it prevents data from being observed in its original form, thereby helping reduce the risk of misuse or accidental exposure. DB2 Anonymous Resolution technology also helps to facilitate more secure information sharing between organizations and supports key strategic and regulatory initiatives, such as privacy compliance, information sharing in support of homeland security, regulatory compliance, due diligence in mergers and acquisitions, and clinical research.

"With the recent rise in identity theft and unintentional information disclosure, customers across all industries are telling us that the ability to safely and securely share data is a top priority for their businesses," said John Slitz, VP IBM Entity Analytics. "DB2 Anonymous Resolution makes it possible for companies to openly share their personally identifiable information in a manner that is more secure than transferring clear text or even encrypted data."

IBM's new Anonymous Resolution software will help customers meet the security and privacy demands associated with opening up their information repositories to take advantage of new and emerging business opportunities. For example, in the healthcare industry, "anonymization" may be used by public health organizations to share and correlate data that has been stripped of personal information for medical research. The unique capability of this software enables such an initiative to determine when two people are the same despite using only the anonymized data - thus addressing double-counting of records that can plague medical research.

Enabling customers to reach new levels of innovation by sharing and analyzing information based on the widest variety of sources is a key element of IBM's information on demand strategy.

"The ability to integrate information across silos while reducing the risk of unintended disclosure is essential," said a spokesman for the Singapore Ministry of Defense. "MINDEF Singapore has evaluated this technology and sees great potential in it."

DB2 Anonymous Resolution is the newest product from IBM's Entity Analytic Solutions (EAS) business, formerly known as SRD, which IBM acquired in January 2005. IBM Entity Analytics specializes in providing middleware products that enable organizations to increase business insight by delivering an accurate view into individuals (DB2 Identity Resolution) and relationships (DB2 Relationship Resolution) in real-time.

Customers use Entity Analytics technologies to assemble accurate and current, enterprise-wide, entity views across their otherwise disparate operational databases. Entity Analytics delivers unprecedented new capabilities for operational business intelligence by providing a more accurate understanding of enterprise knowledge.

The software uses Entity Resolution(TM) technology to resolve data and determine who is who across multiple disparate data sets. The software is able to determine when identities are the same without relying on a master person key (e.g., SSN, national ID card) and despite the natural variability found in identity data (poor data quality, name variations, differing addresses and including intentional obfuscation that is common in cases of fraud). The software adds the ability to discover non-obvious relationships between identities, such as shared phone numbers, addresses or bank accounts. This enables the software to detect and recognize records based on who knows who.

DB2 Anonymous Resolution builds and expands upon the capabilities of DB2 Identity Resolution (who is who) and DB2 Relationship Resolution (who knows who) by anonymously comparing the records and detecting direct matches or relationships between individuals while providing a higher level of protection to individual privacy and the security of the underlying information.

DB2 Anonymous Resolution is available immediately. For more information visit: www-306.ibm.com/software/data/db2/eas/

Contact(s) information

Chris Rubsamen
IBM Media Relations
(914) 766-1803
rubsamen@us.ibm.com

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