Transitive Data Privacy: Behind Golden State Killer DNA and Cambridge Analytica

What you don’t share can still hurt you

We are spending a lot of time discussing what happens to data when you explicitly or implicitly share it. But what about data that you have never ever shared?

Your Cousin’s DNA

We all share DNA — after all, it seems we are all descendants of a few tribes. But the more closely related you are, the closer the DNA match. While we all know we share 50% DNA with siblings, and 25% with first cousins — there is still some meaningful match even between distant relatives (depending on the family tree distance).

Cambridge Analytica

A similar thing happened when data was mis-used by Cambridge Analytica. Even if you never used the quiz app on Facebook platform but your friends did, they essentially revealed private information about you without your consent or knowlege.

Transitive Data Privacy

The word transitive simply means if A is related to B in a certain way, and B to C — then A is related to C. For example, cousins is a transitive property. If Alice and Bob are cousins, and Bob and Chamath are cousins, then Alice and Chamath are cousins.

CEO, Skyflow Privacy Vault, an API company.

CEO, Skyflow Privacy Vault, an API company.