Can anonymous posters on medical forums be reidentified?

Title: Can anonymous posters on medical forums be reidentified?
Authors: Bobicev, Victoria
Sokolova, Marina
El Emam, Khaled
Jafer, Yasser
Dewar, Brian
Jonker, Elizabeth
Matwin, Stan
Abstract: Participants in medical forums often reveal personal health information about themselves in their online postings. To feel comfortable revealing sensitive personal health information, some participants may hide their identity by posting anonymously. They can do this by using fake identities, nicknames, or pseudonyms that cannot readily be traced back to them. However, individual writing styles have unique features and it may be possible to determine the true identity of an anonymous user through author attribution analysis. Although there has been previous work on the authorship attribution problem, there has been a dearth of research on automated authorship attribution on medical forums. The focus of the paper is to demonstrate that character-based author attribution works better than word-based methods in medical forums.
DOI: 10.2196/jmir.2514
CollectionLibre accès uOttawa - Publications // uOttawa Open Access - Publications