Direct identifier

A direct identifier is a combination of data which, on its own, identifies an individual person.

For example:
  • an email address or social media handle will usually be a direct identifier
  • a postal address is not necessarily a direct identifier, because more than one person may live at the address; but the combination of a postal address and date of birth is usually a direct identifier.

InfoSum Platform uses direct identifiers to match up records from separate datasets, when those records represent the same individual. The Bunkers containing the datasets use advanced techniques to compare the data without actually revealing the identifiers to each other.

When you use a Bunker to assign your original columns to categories, you're also helping the Bunker understand what is and isn't a direct identifier. For example, data categorised as a Name is obviously a direct identifier, whereas data categorised as an Occupation isn't.

When you normalise your data, the Bunker converts the direct identifiers to keys, then securely deletes the original data. Once this process is complete, the original direct identifiers cannot be recovered - even in the unlikely event that somebody else gained access to your Bunker.

Your Bunker ensures that direct identifiers can never be revealed in reports or queries. However, some categories use representations to present alternative, less specific versions of the data.

For example, a full address is potentially a direct identifier, but the town or city a person lives in isn't. So the Address category has a Post Town representation, which hides most of the address and reveals only the name of the town or city. Even though your Bunker won't allow access to the full address, you can access the Post Town representation.