Sharemind powers pairing sensitive data in new CentAR study

10. Feb 2017

Estonian Centre for Applied Research (CentAR) recently published a study that focused on the inclusive education of special educational needs (SEN) students and the effectiveness of related support measures. In addition to interviewing stakeholders and surveying education professional, the study securely analysed data from tax and education registries by utilising Sharemind software.

According to Baldur Kubo, project manager at Cybernetica, analysing sensitive data provides valuable insight, but is often barred by law. “Comparing data from sensitive registries, which tax and education records are without doubt, is near impossible to do without compromising privacy. Data analysts are forced to either jump through legal hoops or to concede data quality to anonymise it enough,” Kubo explains.

Sharemind performs analysis on encrypted data, removing legal barriers and allowing data analysts to retain high data quality – and a near-perfect sample. Since aggregating tax and education records – revealing where someone has worked and studied – makes individuals identifiable, privacy regulations restrict such analysis or set strict regulations. “CentAR study focused on inclusive education for special educational needs (SEN) students, which is a sensitive topic in itself, and tends to be addressed qualitatively,” Kubo explains.

“Using privacy-preserving technologies such as Sharemind processes the data while it remains encrypted – nobody sees more than mere white noise,” explains Cybernetica’s security engineer Dr. Riivo Talviste. “Privacy-preserving technologies thus enable us to gain valuable data-based insight while remaining lawful and respectful towards personal data,” Dr. Talviste adds.