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State Agencies Adopting Entity Resolution

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

By Robert Barker, Infoglide Senior VP & Chief Marketing Officer

Fresh out of grad school, I initiated a career in software development by writing software for state agencies. Although I migrated to work for software companies several years later, lessons learned in those beginning years were a great platform for later challenges.

Significant opportunities to apply identity resolution and entity analytics exist at the state level. State agencies interact with citizens and corporations across many domains, including collection of tax revenues (e.g. oil and gas – I’m from Texas!), licenses (e.g. motor vehicles, hunting, fishing), housing programs, lotteries, child protective services, health care, workers’ compensation, the court system, law enforcement, and homeland security.

In most of these areas, it’s important to know exactly who you’re dealing with and who their associates are. For example, we’ve partnered with a state workers’ compensation organization to help them detect employers trying to defraud the state by paying lower premiums than they rightfully should. These employers try to foil the state by dissolving and reforming under different company names, but identity resolution is adept at uncovering such unlawful maneuvers.

New entity resolution applications that deal simultaneously with multiple sources of data residing at multiple agencies promise to make state government more efficient and effective. For example, an agency that requires a citizen to supply information during an application process can augment that process with incremental real-time services that find linkages to other data, thus making it possible to stop payments and/or deny licensing to “dead beat dads”, people who have unpaid taxes, etc. until they meet their legal responsibilities.

While using entity resolution in commercial and federal applications is moving rapidly, states have only just begun to exploit this new technology. If you know of areas that need to be addressed, we’d like to hear about them.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2009-12-07

Monday, December 7th, 2009

By the Infoglide Team

Insurance Journal: Dallas-Area Employer Ordered to Repay Nearly $1M to Texas Mutual

“Texas Mutual Insurance Company reports that Donna Iverson, owner of C&D Business Services Inc., and Carol Wiesman pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud-related charges. The 299th District Court in Austin sentenced Iverson and Wiesman to 10 years’ deferred adjudication and ordered them to repay $949,702 to Texas Mutual. Iverson and Wiesman were involved in a scheme from April 2003 through March 2006 to conceal business relationships and payroll records from Texas Mutual for C&D Business Services Inc. and C&D Services.”

CMAJ: Canadian physicians playing “catch-up” in adopting electronic medical records

“The Survey of Primary Care Physicians In Eleven Countries, 2009: Perspectives On Care, Costs, And Experiences found that only 37% of Canadian family physician respondents used electronic medical records in their practices, the lowest rate among the countries surveyed.”

public intelligence: Intelligence Fusion Centers

“These entities work under the auspices of local law enforcement, often integrating with the state’s police force, Department of Justice, or Office of Emergency Management… The following list is believed to be accurate at this time.”

Liliendahl on Data Quality: Santa Quality

“Santa Claus versus Saint Nicholas is an example of the use of nicknames which is a main issue in name matching in many cultures. It’s also important to observe that the German and Danish name is one word versus two words in English and French. Many company names and other names in respective languages shares the same linguistic characteristic.”

Fusion Centers: Enthusiasm and Apprehension

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

By Robert Barker, Infoglide Senior VP & Chief Marketing Officer

Identity resolution is a vital technology for law enforcement fusion centers, and we’ve often followed developments with links to stories in this area. When overlapping and adjacent jurisdictions share data with each other, uncovering hidden identities and linkages greatly accelerates the detection of criminal activity.

This map shows current and planned deployments of state and local fusion centers. Mention “fusion center” and you’re likely to get one of two divergent reactions:

  1. “Great idea – law enforcement agencies not combining forces and sharing data with each other to catch criminals wastes energy and taxpayer dollars.”
  2. “This sounds like another step toward Big Brother government snooping around looking for some reason to harass private citizens.”

On the “great idea” side, we’ve seen editorial and popular support for fusion centers in Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Tennessee, and other states. Strong federal support for state-based centers is also evident in recent announcements from the Department of Homeland Security. On the “Big Brother” side of the discussion, projects having ominous overtones like the National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative have drawn attention and suspicion from privacy rights groups like the ACLU.

Take a case in point. In Austin TX the formation of an Austin Regional Intelligence Center was recently proposed. On the one hand, local law enforcement leaders are enthusiastic about the ability to “stitch together information collected by various agencies to create new files on suspects in criminal cases or on suspects they think may be planning to carry out crimes and merit further surveillance.”

On the other hand, privacy advocates express concern about the use of unchecked power and the establishment of clear policies for how private citizens will be protected from intrusive surveillance. “If you start to go above and beyond the lawful means of data information collection, we are well on our way down a slippery slope where there is no return,” said Chuck Young, founder and treasurer of the civil liberties group Texans for Accountable Government.

The City of Austin police have been diligent in addressing privacy concerns very directly. David Carter, the assistant police chief responsible for the project, said that “we do recognize that there are concerns in some people’s minds concerning fusion centers in general,” and the department has taken care to meet early with representatives of the ACLU and other concerned citizens to determine how best to achieve security objectives while protecting the privacy of individuals.

We believe a forum like IdentityResolutionDaily allows everyone to share views and information on this long-standing and complex issue and is the best way to enable open communication among all concerned parties. Let us hear from you.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2009-12-01

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

By the Infoglide Team

WPRI.com: State police crackdown on lottery scams

“‘The clerk opened the cash register and paid our undercover officer $100 dollars,’ said Capt. David Neill of the Rhode Island State Police. ‘On another occasion, our undercover officer presented the $1,000 winning scratch ticket and was told that in fact it was not a winning ticket.’”

naplesnews.com: Editorial: Law enforcement … expanding cooperation, increasing public safety

“The fusion center program aims to make the most of intelligence and technology. That’s collaboration, making teamwork routine rather than something out of the ordinary. That recognizes the age-old truism that crime and criminals know no city or county lines. They move freely to opportunities and hiding places.”

National Terror Alert: Secure Flight Improves Safety And Passenger Delays

“Initially, the Secure Flight program was part of a larger debate about how to identify terrorists consistently while maintaining the privacy of fliers in the post-9/11 world. Once watch list matching was determined to be the correct mechanism, TSA designed the program with privacy and security embedded into its foundation. Secure Flight now uses advanced watch list matching technology and has taken the time to get it right.”

Health IT Buzz: The Evidence for HIT

“Many health care organizations, big and small, public and private, have installed electronic health record systems and are reaping their benefits daily.  Examples include not only national systems like the Veterans Administration and Kaiser Permanente, but regional groups like Geisinger Health System, and individual hospitals like the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Boston, and Lakeland Hospital, a 77-bed facility outside of Omaha Nebraska.  These organizations show that the vision is feasible – health care can be made higher in quality and lower in cost through the best existing HIT.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2009-11-20

Friday, November 20th, 2009

[Post from Infoglide] Entity Resolution Metrics

“In the last post we looked at the problem of measuring the accuracy of entity resolution processes.  As with any accuracy measure, comparing to a known standard of correctness or benchmark is required.  However, even without a benchmark, other measures are also important in evaluating ER outcomes.”

SmartData Collective: MDM: Build or Buy?

“In the paper, I describe five core MDM functions that should drive a deliberate MDM strategy:

1. Data cleansing and correction
2. Metadata
3. Security and access services
4. Data migration
5. Identity resolution”

New York Times: The Rules on Names Could Bend a Little

“Given more precise information at booking, the T.S.A. expects to be able to match more precisely a passenger’s identity against those on the watch list. This should reduce the number of false positives — people who are flagged at security until it can be determined that they are not the person with a similar name who is on a watch list. ‘The Secure Flight watch-list matching process occurs before a passenger even gets to the airport,’ Mr. Leyh said. ‘So if you get a boarding pass, the Secure Flight watch-list matching process is done.’ In other words, you are clear once you get that pass.”

O’Reilly radar: Health gets personal in the cloud

“A Personal Health Record (PHR) is one way that patients can have some control of their own health data, while providing an interoperable platform for sharing relevant clinical data between providers. Healthcare is changing rapidly and there are some important trends worth watching. Healthcare in the near future will be quite different than it is today. Web enabled technology is already changing the way medicine is practiced. As the digital nation comes of age we will see new opportunities, and new challenges, bringing healthcare in America into the 21st century.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2009-11-16

Monday, November 16th, 2009

By the Infoglide Team

Government Technology: California Plans to Launch Information Security Operations Center

“The CA-ISOC would watch for attacks on the state government’s critical information infrastructure, including attempts to disrupt automated control networks for dams, power plants and other physical facilities. The plan also envisions creating a California Computer Incident Response Team that would work in concert with the state’s Emergency Management Agency and Fusion Center, as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Liliendahl on Data Quality: Splitting names

“When working through a list of names in order to make a deduplication, consolidation or identity resolution you will meet name fields populated as these:

  • Margaret & John Smith
  • Margaret Smith. John Smith
  • Maria Dolores St. John Smith
  • Johnson & Johnson Limited
  • Johnson & Johnson Limited, John Smith
  • Johnson Furniture Inc., Sales Dept
  • Johnson, Johnson and Smith Sales Training…”

tunnellsystems: EHR vs EMR

“‘An EHR refers to a person’s health record that can be accessed online from many separate, compatible systems within a network. An EMR refers to an electronic patient record that can be accessed from a single system in a doctor’s office and that may, or may not, be shared with other health care professionals.’”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2009-11-09

Monday, November 9th, 2009

By the Infoglide Team

NYTimes Dealbook: Insider Scheme Had Touches of James Bond

“Unlike the Galleon case, where senior officials at corporations passed tips on early earnings estimates to people at the fund, the Goffer case centers on allegations that may sound more familiar to students of the insider trading scandals of 25 years ago — early tips about deals from the people involved in doing them. According to the criminal complaints, Mr. Cutillo passed the information along through a friend, Jason C. Goldfarb, 31, who specialized in workers compensation law at a private firm in Brooklyn and who was also arrested on Thursday.”

Computerworld: Data quality vendors missing the mark, study finds

“One-fifth of respondents felt data quality is a prerequisite to an MDM initiative and wanted to see more vendor offerings integrating those two areas. Hayler says one would expect vendor partnerships between the areas of data quality and MDM, and that is precisely what is currently happening in the industry.”

docinthemachine: Encrypt EHR — Else HIPAA Violations Need Be Reported To Government & Media

“For example, if a physician maintains patient information in a laptop computer containing the unsecured information of more than 500 patients and the laptop is stolen, the physician would be required to notify not only the patients affected by the breach, but would likely need to also notify the DHHS and the media. A medical practice need not report a breach if the patient information has been properly encrypted – because information that is encrypted is not considered ‘unsecure.’”

Initiate Blog: The Brittle Nature of Data Warehouses

“Usually, only a small percentage of the data are ever used. So why bother? The TCO for extracting, copying, converting, transferring, transforming, integrating, propagating, backing-up, loading, and verifying the data skyrockets far beyond its value and injects significant risk and brittleness into the entire ecosystem.”

The Other Half of Entity Resolution

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

By Robert Barker, Infoglide Senior VP & Chief Marketing Officer

In a recent post, Jonathan McDonald quotes one definition of entity resolution:

According to Gartner, entity resolution is “the capability to resolve multiple labels for individuals, products or other noun classes of data into a single resolved entity when pseudonyms, alias names or other synonym-style constructs exist. This is especially true in cases wherein there exists intentional falsification of information or the creation of false identities. While most prevalent in detecting perpetrators of criminal or illegal activity, more-commercial applications exist as well.

While the definition nicely captures the value of “first degree” entity resolution, it falls short by omitting non-obvious relationship detection.

Basic entity resolution determines “who’s who” by sifting through massive amounts of noun/attribute data in multiple disparate data sources. Cutting through ambiguity caused by missing attributes, pseudonyms, aliases, and obvious efforts to deceive, it mines and resolves the essential elements of identity to form an unambiguous picture that greatly enhances business decisions and reduces risk.

However, in many application domains, pinpointing “who knows whom” is equally valuable. In detecting insider trading, for example, it’s important to resolve identity information to achieve an unambiguous picture of a person of interest, but to expose fraudulent activity, it’s critical to identify second and third degree linkages between suspects and their friends, relatives, and business associates.

More examples abound. In insurance, fraudsters change roles each time they stage a car accident and also intentionally modify their identities in accident reports. Fraudulent employers who want to reduce their workers’ compensation premiums will close their company and start a new one with modified identities of corporate officers. In retail, non-receipted returns of merchandise are often linked to store employees and the customers they enlist to act as their confederates. The list goes on and on.

In each case, entity resolution finds hidden connections by evaluating multiple ambiguous attributes with the same algorithms used to resolve identities. A retail employee who takes a customer’s winning lottery ticket (while telling the customer he didn’t win!) can be traced through address and phone information to other suspiciously connected people, e.g. frequent lottery winners and lottery commission employees.

With apologies to the experts at Gartner, here’s a suggested addition to the definition that acknowledges the other half of entity resolution:

The capability to (a) resolve multiple labels for individuals, products or other noun classes of data into a single resolved entity when ambiguity from pseudonyms, alias names or other synonym-style constructs exists, and (b) to expose hidden connections between entities that are two or more degrees of separation apart. This is especially true in cases where there exists intentional falsification of information or the creation of false identities. While most prevalent in detecting perpetrators of criminal or illegal activity, more-commercial applications exist as well.

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2009-11-02

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

By the Infoglide Team

Come by and see us at TDWI World in Orlando Nov. 3 & 4, Booth 405

The Emculturated World: Unmanage Master Data Management

MDM breaks down in the moment it becomes divorced from a practical, immediate attempt to capture just what is needed today. The moment it attempts to “bank” standard symbols ahead of their usage, the MDM process becomes speculative, and proscriptive.”

Governing: Can I Say No to an Electronic Health Record?

“In some instances, patients don’t even know their information is being shared. For example, if consumers turn over prescription drug records when applying for life insurance, the insurer will sometimes hand off the information to business partners who then hand it off to data miners. To keep a tighter grip on privacy, Deven McGraw, director of health privacy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, would like a set of rules that all organizations in the health IT world would have to follow.”

Related post: “Applying Identity Resolution to Patient Identification Integrity”

San Antonio Express-News: McManus recalls 9-11 at GEOINT summit

“Bart Johnson, acting undersecretary for intelligence and analysis with the Homeland Security Department, said cooperation is improving, although problems remain with security clearances and interdepartmental connectivity. ‘The federal government can only do so much in getting it down to the street level,’ Johnson said. Homeland security and Justice Department officials have formed 72 “fusion centers” — terrorism prevention and response centers where federal agencies work with the military, local law enforcement and private partners. Three are in Texas: Austin, Dallas and Collin County near Dallas.”

information management: From Search to Explore

“It’s no surprise that people are looking at more and more internal and external resources for informed decision-making. In the internal case, data integration is a foundation of master data management as well. But integration for BI to common visual tools is increasingly taking place in subsystems, relational databases and cubes, and the visualization layer itself.”

Identity Resolution Daily Links 2009-10-30

Friday, October 30th, 2009

[Post from Infoglide] Enriching E-discovery Results with Identity Resolution

“Civil lawsuits often result in discovery orders from the court to produce every shred of possibly relevant internal communication. The need to comprehend patterns across the resulting vast amount of aggregated data is critical. To help organizations respond to these demands, powerful e-discovery software systems (e.g., see StoredIQ) create data topology maps that identify the relationships between active sources of multiple forms of electronically stored information (ESI).”

USA Players: Lottery Winner Demands Payment After Crooked Clerk Pilfers Ticket 

“Pankaj Joshi, the accused, was an employee at the convenience store in which Willis purchased his tickets. Joshi had allegedly told Willis that the ticket that he presumed was worth millions was worth only $2 dollars, which Joshi presumably paid to Willis. Joshi was charged with lottery fraud, and it is suspected that he took the winnings and fled to his homeland of Nepal.”

For more, seeLottery Fraud by Retailers Is an Identity Resolution Problem

The Daily Texan: Civil liberties groups voice ‘fusion center’ apprehension

“It will be funded initially by U.S. Department of Homeland Security grants and will then become self-sustaining, using personnel already within APD’s budget. ‘It is really important for law enforcement to be able to share information in a timely fashion, because when you share information, you can solve crimes quicker and, in some cases, prevent another serial offense from happening,’ Carter said. Carter said Central Texas agencies possess large amounts of lawfully collected information, but separate information systems hinder the sharing of information.”

BeyeNETWORK: Master Data Management Checklist #5: Data Quality Mechanics

[David Loshin] “The ability to use the traditional data quality toolset of data parsing, standardization and matching enables the development of a “customer master,” “product master,” “security master,” etc. that becomes the master entity index to be used for ongoing identity resolution and elimination of duplicate entries.”

Airlines and Destinations: Passenger Info Required at Booking under TSA’s Secure Flight Program

“When making a flight booking, each passenger must declare their full name just as it appears in their passport, as well as their gender and date of birth. The airline sends the information to the TSA 72 hours before the flight departure time. The TSA compares the information with watch lists with the purpose of identifying suspected terrorists, preventing access to flights by passengers prohibited from flying, and identifying individuals for whom an enhanced security check should be performed.”


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