Examples of Easy-to-implement, Widely Used Methods of Masking for
which Analytic Properties are not Justified
William E. Winkler
KEY WORDS: Data Quality, Re-identification
This paper provides examples that illustrate the severe analytic distortions of many
widely used masking methods that have been in use for a number of years. The masking
methods are intended to reduce or eliminate re-identification risk in public-use files.
Although the masking methods yield files that do not allow reproduction of the analytic
properties of original, confidential files, in a number of situations they sometimes allow
small amounts of re-identification using elementary methods and widely available
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division
Created: December 29, 2007
Last revised: December 29, 2007
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