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PRODUCING PUBLIC-USE MICRODATA THAT ARE ANALYTICALLY VALID AND CONFIDENTIAL

William E. Winkler*

KEY WORDS: re-identification, additive noise

ABSTRACT

A public-use microdata file should be analytically valid. For a very small number of uses, the microdata should yield analytic results that are approximately the same as the original, confidential file that is not distributed. If the microdata file contains a moderate number of variables and is required to meet a single set of analytic needs of, say, university researchers, then many more records are likely to be re-identified via modern record linkage methods than via the re-identification methods typically used in the confidentiality literature. This paper compares several masking methods in terms of their ability to produce analytically valid, confidential microdata.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistical Research Division | (301) 763-3215 (or chad.eric.russell@census.gov) |   Last Revised: October 08, 2010