Herd Privacy

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Ful Title or Meme

A wide range of anonymization techniques have been proposed that give the illusion of Privacy.


  • Most of the "anonymization" techniques depend on removing all Personally Identifiable Information from the document for from a data base. The fact that this is pure fiction has not stoped the spread of this idea.
  • The US Census anonymized census data to provide privacy.
  • Bitcoin explicitly claimed it remained completely anonymous even though every participate has a public key which acts just like an Identifier.
  • THe W3C Credential Community Group claimed Herd Privacy by virtue of the large number of identifiers flooding around.


One very good repudiation of this concept stated the following[1] from Chainalysis about how the blockchain data can be correlated and then like to real world users by the use of Artificial Intelligence.
Blockchains are records of transactions; though they don't contain Personally Identifiable Information, it's possible to reconstruct detailed accounts of how crypto moves between various wallets. Chainalysis gathers huge amounts of public data from blockchains, then adds information it gathers itself or gets from clients. It used machine learning, statistical anyusis, and other techniques to process the data, cluster wallets together, and understand where the crypto went.


  1. Joshua Brustein, Crytpo's $8,6 Billion Private Eye, Business Week (2022-09-26) pp. 19ff