Quasi-identifiers, or indirect identifiers, are personal attributes that are true about, but not necessarily unique, to an individual. Examples are one’s age or date of birth, race, salary, educational attainment, occupation, marital status and zip code.
Adding ‘random noise’ to data through blurring or perturbation is a data common anonymization requirement for researchers and marketers of protected health information (PHI) seeking to comply with the HIPAA Expert Determination Method security rule.
According to Simson L. Garfinkel at the NIST Information Access Division’s Information Technology Laboratory,
De-identification is not a single technique, but a collection of approaches, algorithms, and tools that can be applied to different kinds of data with differing levels of effectiveness.
There are times when it is necessary to test with or share data that has elements of personally identifiable information (PII). To comply with data privacy laws and prevent a data breach, you may need to provide data that reflects, and sometimes imparts, critical information, but still protects the PII.