Anonymized credit card data – only locations and times of purchases made – are enough to identify a person, a new MIT study shows. Shopping habits are so unique, that knowledge of only four transactions help tell who the buyer is.
Three months of credit card transactions carried out by 1.1 million people in 10,000 shops in one country were studied by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology team, which made the results public in a January 30 issue of Science journal.
The name of the country is not specified, it’s only designated as an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country. The source of the data is only mentioned as a “major bank.”