Designing Privacy Enhancing Technologies

Volume 2009 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 1-9


Anonymity, Unobservability, and Pseudonymity — A Proposal for Terminology

  • Andreas PfitzmannAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, Dresden University of Technology
  • , Marit KöhntoppAffiliated withIndependent Centre for Privacy Protection Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, Unabhängiges Landeszentrum für Datenschutz Schleswig-Holstein

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Based on the nomenclature of the early papers in the field, we propose a set of terminology which is both expressive and precise. More particularly, we define anonymity, unlinkability, unobservability, and pseudonymity (pseudonyms and digital pseudonyms, and their attributes). We hope that the adoption of this terminology might help to achieve better progress in the field by avoiding that each researcher invents a language of his/her own from scratch. Of course, each paper will need additional vocabulary, which might be added consistently to the terms defined here.