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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 software.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division

Created: December 29, 2007
Last revised: December 29, 2007

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