IBM has unveiled software designed to allow organisations to share and compare information about individuals without revealing any private details.
DB2 Anonymous Resolution aims to cut back on the frequency of unintentional information disclosure, allowing organisations to reveal only "anonymised" data.
"With the recent rise in identity theft and unintentional information disclosure, customers across all industries are telling us that the ability safely and securely to share data is a top priority for their businesses," said John Slitz, vice president of entity analytics solutions at IBM.
"DB2 Anonymous Resolution makes it possible for companies openly to share their personally identifiable information in a manner that is more secure than transferring clear text or even encrypted data."
A clinical researcher, for instance, would still have access to data containing patients' health information and analysis, but would not have access to names or other personal details. The software uses encryption to hide such sensitive details.
The technology is most likely to appeal to financial services, healthcare and retail, where the sharing of information between partners or divisions is common but puts organisations at risk of leaking sensitive details.
IBM acquired the technology last January through the purchase of a company called Systems Research and Development.
IBM's product unveiling follows a series of data leaks in recent months. Reed's Lexis Nexis database was compromised in April, resulting in the leaking of private information on 310,000 people in the US.
Earlier this month the US army inadvertently revealed the names of the soldiers involved in a shooting accident that left an Italian intelligence agent dead. The army failed properly to black out the information in a PDF document.
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