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Anonymous-entity resolution technology scrambles data for security and privacy reasons. The software sifts through data such as names, telephone numbers, addresses and information from employers to identify individuals listed under different names in separate databases. The software can find information by comparing records in multiple databases, however the information is scrambled using a “one-way hash function,” which converts a record to a character string that serves as a unique identifier like a fingerprint. Persons being investigated remain anonymous, and agents can isolate particular records without examining any other personal information. A record that has been one-way hashed cannot be “un-hashed” to reveal information contained in the original record.
- Steve Mollman, "Betting on Private Data Search," Wired.com (Mar. 11, 2003).