Confidentiality and Disclosure Limitation Methodology:
Challenges for National Statistics and Statistical Research
Stephen E. Fienberg
For many years, pledges of confidentiality to
respondents in censuses and
surveys were interpreted in an absolute fashion and agency statisticians
created conservative rules for disclosure avoidance which they believed
would prevent disclosure of confidential information. During the past
twenty-five years, the field of disclosure protection has undergone a
``statistical transformation'' and begun to utilize the advances that have
occurred within the field of statistics itself. This paper provides an
overview of the statistical issues that are related to the evolving area of
statistical disclosure limitation methodology and illustrates the ideas in
the context of two examples of current interest to U. S. government
statistical agencies and others.
Keywords: Decennial census releases; Inferential
disclosure; Intruder; Longitudinal datafiles;
Matrix masking; Perturbation methods; Simulated data.
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