Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Why Sharing Raw Data is Important

Bob Rudis has a nice post up “Off By One : The Importance Of Fact Checking Breach Reports,” in which he points out some apparent errors in the Massachusetts 2011 breach report, and also provides some graphs.

Issues like this are why it’s important to release data. It enables independent error checking, but also allows people to slice and dice the issues in ways that otherwise are only accessible to a privileged few with the raw numbers.

3 comments on "Why Sharing Raw Data is Important"

  • Chris says:


    With respect to breach reports in particular, access to the reporting forms and other information provided to the government is also highly desirable. One thus has the same tangible sources, and can therefore take the analysis in a direction about which the original report preparer (or dataset creator was not intetrested.

    This is one reason some of us are enthusiastic about FOIA as a research tool.

  • hrbrmstr says:

    Thx for the kind words! I’m glad there’s an upward trend in information sharing in general and am optimistic that we will indeed start seeing more raw data sources being published alongside reports such as this.

    With the increasing number of free services (Google Drive/Apps, Dropbox, etc) there is little-to-no cost for organizations and our particular community has extremely talented and creative individuals (I think particularly of some of the recent pusblished analysis by @jayjacobs) who really can do very creative and useful analytics and visualizations that original authors might not have looked at, not to mention the potential for normalization and aggregation across sources.

  • Wilson Castaway says:

    Although not directly related to this data breach, it is related to sharing data in general. It is located in the dissertation of these two students (plus I couldn’t find any other spot to share this information with you).

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