Swiss study finds Big Data eliminates confidentiality in court judgements

Swiss researchers have found that algorithms that mine large swaths of data can eliminate anonymity in federal court rulings. This could have major ramifications for transparency and privacy protection. The study relied on a “web scraping technique” or mining of large swaths of data. The researchers created a database of all decisions of the Supreme Court available online from 2000 to 2018 – a total of 122,218 decisions. Additional decisions from the Federal Administrative Court and the Federal Office of Public Health were also added. Using an algorithm and manual searches for connections between data, the researchers were able to de-anonymise, in other words reveal identities, in 84% of the judgments in less than an hour.

H/T to beSpacific for discovering this report.

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