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Tue, 28 Sep 2021
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So much for illusion of privacy: Most Canadians can be uniquely identified from their date of birth and postal code

© Unknown
New research unveils privacy risks from combinations of demographics.

There are increasing pressures for health care providers to make individual-level data readily available for research and policy making. But Canadians are more likely to allow the sharing of their personal data if they believe that their privacy is protected. A new report by Dr. Khaled El Emam, the Canada Research Chair in Electronic Health Information at the University of Ottawa and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, suggests that Canadians can be uniquely identified from their date of birth, postal code, and gender. This means if this triad of data exists in any database, even if it has no names or other identifying information, it would be possible to determine the identity of those individuals. The report is now available in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making Journal.

"Most people tend to think twice before reporting their year of birth [to protect their privacy] but this report forces us all to think about the combination or the totality of data we share," said Dr. El Emam. "It calls out the urgency for more precise and quantitative approaches to measure the different ways in which individuals can be re-identified in databases - and for the general population to think about all of the pieces of personal information which in combination can erode their anonymity."


Australia: Ex-NetRatings CEO's daughter freed from collar 'bomb'

New South Wales police have worked for ten hours, with calls to the Australian Federal Police and bomb disposal experts in the UK, to free a Sydney girl from what was believed to be an explosive.

The ordeal for Mosman 18-year-old schoolgirl Madeleine Pulver began when a balaclava-clad intruder broke into the family home and attached a device around her neck.

Only after the "box-shaped device" strapped to her neck was removed were police able to confirm that it was not, in fact, an explosive. However, Assistant Commissioner of NSW Police Mark Murdoch said that instructions left by the attacker had led them to believe the device was explosive.

Light Saber

Russia describes Georgian leader as pathological

Rus georg patholog

Russia marked the third anniversary of its war with Georgia on Monday by saying it would not renew ties with Tbilisi as long as its "badly brought up" and "pathological" president was in power.

Russian news bulletins were dominated by footage of the 2008 war and showed President Dmitry Medvedev inspecting the Molkino military base in southern Russia, where he praised troops who fought in the conflict for repelling the Georgian "aggressor."

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went further, saying that Moscow would have no direct dealings with Tbilisi while President Mikheil Saakashvili was president.

"We will have no dealings with a man who gave the criminal order to kill peacekeepers and ordered the death of peaceful civilians, including Russian citizens," Lavrov told reporters in Moscow.

"Saakashvili is of course a pathological case and an anomaly among the Georgian people. He is clearly very badly brought up ... We do not associate the Georgian with this persona."

Lavrov accused Saakashvili of "dreaming up fairy tales" about what happened in the run-up to the war, which each side accuses the other of starting.


After Attack, Reclusive Amazon Tribe Feared Missing

Amazon Tribe
© Gleison Miranda/FUNAI/Survival Internationa
This 2010 image shows part of an uncontacted Indian tribe in western Brazil. The tribe has disappeared since a group of armed men (presumed to be Peruvian drug traffickers) overran a Brazilian guardpost near the tribe's lands. Brazilian officials are now looking for signs of the missing tribe.

An uncontacted Amazon tribe that made headlines earlier this year after being filmed from the air is feared missing after presumed drug traffickers overran the Brazilian guards posted to protect the tribe's lands.

According to tribal advocacy group Survival International, Brazilian officials can find no trace of the Indians in the area after heavily armed men ransacked the guard post in western Brazil about 32 miles (20 kilometers) from the Peruvian border. Like other uncontacted tribes, the Indians live a traditional life in the forest and does not have contact with the outside world.

Workers from FUNAI, the government bureau of Indian affairs, found a broken arrow in one of the men's backpacks, raising fears for the tribe's safety.

"We think the Peruvians made the Indians flee," Carlos Travassos, the head of the government's isolated Indians department, said in a statement. "Now we have good proof. We are more worried than ever."


UK: Did rock-throwing teenage girl's 'beating' by police spark London riots? Pictures that show how Tottenham turned into a war zone

  • Violence breaks out in Enfield with around 200 youths smashing windows and attacking cars
  • Twenty-six police officers hurt in Tottenham clashes, with eight treated in hospital
  • IPCC says 'non-police' firearm found at scene of Mark Duggan's death
  • Number of arrests rises to 55, 51 last night and four today
  • Tottenham MP David Lammy appeals for calm and warns that there may be fatalities
  • Mob of 500 people protest about death of father-of-four Mark Duggan who was shot by officers
  • Fears that violence was fanned by Twitter as picture of burning police car was re-tweeted more than 100 times
  • Shop looted and youths storm McDonald's and start cooking their own food
  • Mail on Sunday photographers beaten and mugged by masked thugs

The family of Mark Duggan has condemned the riot that broke out in Tottenham last night as eyewitness reports emerge that trouble erupted after a 16-year-old girl threw a rock at police.

Mr Duggan was shot dead by marksmen on Thursday and his fiancee, Semone Wilson, has said that she wanted answers, not trouble, while his brother, Shaun Hall, called for the community to remain calm.

Despite his calls for the community to remain calm, violence broke out in Enfield this evening with a group of around 200 youths smashing windows iand attacking vehicles in the town centre.

The Metropolitan Police meanwhile, has described Mr Duggan's death as 'regrettable' and blamed the violent anarchy that flared on a 'criminal minority'.


Aftermath: A building that was set ablaze in Tottenham is just an empty shell this morning


Crashes and Empires


As the stock markets around the globe plummet due to the downgrading of US credit rating, president Obama steps up to the podium today in a special address to the nation. I thought I'd listen in...

The president begins with an explanation that even though the US credit rating was downgraded from AAA, it is not so much that the agency doubts our ability to pay our debt, but, rather, they doubt our political system's ability to act. The markets think our credit rating is AAA. Warren Buffet, a man who knows something about the market, would give the US a AAAA rating if possible, or so the president says.

In other words, pay no attention to the reality of our current credit rating - pay attention to the IDEA of our credit rating. As an insider in the Bush White House said not so many years ago, "we're an empire now, so we create our own reality" and the reality the president wants you to believe in is that our credit rating is not what it actually is. He repeats that we are a AAA country.


David Cameron Returning to UK as Fire and Riots Grip London

Hackney Riots
© Getty
David Cameron is returning to the UK as a fresh wave of riots and fires hit London, from the east to the south, with unrest also beginning to take hold in other parts of the country.

Prime Minister David Cameron is coming home to deal with the wave of unrest gripping London and threatening to spread around the UK. He will chair a meeting of the Government's emergency committee Cobra on Tuesday.

Metropolitan Police Acting Commisioner Tim Goodwin has urged the public to stay off London's streets. He also called on parents to contact their children.


UK Riots: Unrest Spreads to Leeds and Birmingham

Birmingham Riots
Channel 4 News has spoken to an eyewitness in Birmingham city centre who says trouble is "brewing," whilst another reports a heavy police presence in Leeds' Chapeltown after the shooting of a man.

As riots spiral across London, the fresh wave of violence has also spread north to central Birmingham, with police saying shop windows had been smashed and looting had taken place


UK Riots: Windows smashed in Birmingham as youths gather

Adidas store Birmingham

The Adidas store in New Street, Birmingham, was broken into and looted
Gangs of masked youths have gathered in Birmingham city centre and some shop windows have been smashed.

A McDonald's restaurant, close to the city's cathedral, has had a window broken and eye witnesses have reported more damage in the Colmore Row area.

West Midlands Police said it was aware of some disorder, including vandalised shops and incidents of theft.


Anarchy in the UK: London Riots Enter Day 3, Spread to Second City Birmingham

More than 200 people have been arrested and 35 officers injured during three nights of violent street riots in London.

London's police force is bracing itself for another night of violence, as the ongoing unrest became steadily worse on Monday with new pockets of violence and rioting springing up all over the city.