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Small Words in an Email Can Reveal a Person's Identity


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Nottingham Trent University researchers say it is possible to identify the author of an email by identifying small sequences of words it contains.

Credit: Nottingham Trent University

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K. have demonstrated it is possible to identify someone by analyzing small sequences of words in emails.

The researchers analyzed thousands of emails from 12 employees at a former energy company and correctly identified the authors 95% of the time when the samples were longer than 1,000 words.

The team compared how often employees used certain sequences, between two and six words, in their emails, and found the way people join small words together is unique to them.

"The repetitiveness of these phrases shows that the individual has developed their own tried and tested phrases, which they know will work to get a job done," says Nottingham Trent University's David Wright.

The researchers say their study could be applied to improving the reliability of evidence given to the courts, ultimately improving the justice system.

From Nottingham Trent University News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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