Researchers June 3, 2021
The Transformation of Social Science Through Differential Privacy

Big and small data is obtained everywhere today anytime someone hooks to an internet connection. This data is used in various ways, frequently in the field of research and development. However, the increased demand for data to aid in business decisions and the further process of obtaining knowledge has meant that privacy and security are at stake more than they have ever been in the past.

In the area of social science, data is a necessary component of research. Social scientists use collected data to make decisions that can impact society directly. To mitigate the problem of security risk, differential privacy is becoming commonplace, thereby transforming the field of social science.

What is Differential Privacy?

The question of how data can be collected and analyzed digitally without risking the privacy of those whose information is being collected is a controversial one. It has been a problem for decades, but now that the world wide web and Big Data has become a regular part of everyday life, security measures are essential. Cybercrime is a serious issue and those who use data must stay ahead of the threat.

Differential Privacy is a way of ensuring this happens. It’s a method of ensuring that the data collected will have an effect on the outcome of a query. It makes it possible for companies to collect data and then share that information with others without infringing on the privacy of a user.

With data collected through Differential Privacy, companies or researchers can access a lot of sensitive data without worrying about a privacy breach. The technology developed for differential privacy allows the entire process to be automated in cloud-sharing communities, pulling data about user’s habits without ever disclosing where the information was obtained in the first place.

The Limitations of This Security Measure

With data collection, some of the information obtained is considered “general” info. It isn’t specific to any individual subject and can be used as the entire population in a dataset rather than an individual or a group of subjects. The other type of data obtained is private information related specifically to an individual.

While Differential Privacy is beneficial to big companies and social science researchers who are looking to make decisions regarding society as a whole, there are limitations. There must be a way to identify the difference between general and private information under the umbrella of this privacy method. Otherwise, something termed “general” is not protected, and private information that is classified as generalized could be released.

Social sciences have been transformed with the ability to focus on generalized information without restrictions. Differential Privacy promises that any individual data will remain private; the rest of the collected data can be used in any way that helps the research in question.

Why Differential Privacy is Becoming Popularized

In social science, it’s crucial to be able to access and combine large amounts of data in ways that lead to an overall outcome. Because of the increase in data, there is also an increase in the risk of privacy. Scholars must be vigilant about their security methods, but the overall workflow means that multiple layers of data sharing are regularly accessed.

With differential privacy, there is an added cost to protecting this privacy, but it’s one that has significant positive side effects. Privacy is protected, there are less concerns from the scholar about whether they have the right to use the information obtained, and other short and long-term solutions are expected to arise the more this type of data collection is used regularly. Differential privacy allows researchers to easily share their findings with other scholars across institutions, and confidently release their work to the public without fear of exposing sensitive information.

Impactio Makes Security Easier

Whether you’re collecting Big or Small Data, using differential privacy, or engaging in other security methods, you need a computer program that also helps secure your resources. No matter what you are researching, privacy is crucial. When it’s time to input your content and data in and produce your manuscript, Impactio is the program you can trust.

Designed specifically for academics, security is a focus of Impactio’s platform. This, combined with efficiency and high-quality output, gives you the peace of mind you need to work on your research without stress. With Impactio, you get a professional, rigorous program that works in conjunction with your institution’s secure processes. The program you’re putting your sensitive data in must be reliable and secure, which is why scholars around the world look to Impactio.

Tags Social ScienceResearchersSecurity
About the author
Jason Collins- Writer
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.
Jason Collins
Jason is a writer for many niche brands with experience “bringing stories to life” for both startups and corporate partners.
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