This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Providing access to detailed data only in Opportunities, a report of the National Academy
restricted data enclaves where appropriate- of Sciences.
6
Together these publications represent
ness of use can be monitored, access is an up-to-date perspective based on a vast amount
restricted to authorized individuals, and of experience and expertise.
those individuals are trained in confidential-
ity protection. The enclaves can be set up
Appendix: Definitions
either to require the analyst to be physi- Key to the understanding of disclosure avoidance
cally present at the restricted site or to allow are the concepts of privacy, confidentiality, and
remote access to authorized analyses. data protection.
7
Informational privacy encom-
passes an individual's freedom from excessive
Permitting tailored online data analysis
intrusion and the ability to choose the extent
of detailed databases with results sub-
and circumstances under which one’s personal
jected to disclosure avoidance review.
information will be shared with or withheld from
Making selected information files avail-
others. The assurances given to information pro-
able under licensing arrangements that
viders concerning the care and potential sharing
guarantee secure and confidential han-
of this information are detailed in a pledge of
dling of data by trusted researchers.
confidentiality. Data protection refers to the set of
policies and procedures that ensure that the pro-
tection promised is actually provided. These poli-
Various Federal agencies’ data access policies
cies and procedures are generally quite compre-
employ one or more modes of access, and some are
hensive and involve administrative, physical, and
able to provide different tiers of access, for exam-
electronic safeguards. When information is shared
ple providing a minimally protected dataset (e.g.,
with the public or with parties not included in the
no direct identifiers like names) in secure enclaves,
pledge of confidentiality, the possibility of disclo-
slightly restricted data (e.g., with aggregated geogra-
sure arises. It is at this point that the statistician’s
phy) via licensing, and blurred or synthetic data for
skills and experience come into play.
unrestricted public use.
Information may be shared as tabular or micro-da-
A comprehensive review of disclosure avoidance
ta. The former is represented by data grouped accord-
techniques is beyond the scope of this statement, but
ing to one or more characteristics. A simple table
the reader is referred to the Privacy, Confidentiality
would contain categories (cells) of age and gender,
and Data Security website
3
for a convenient source
and more complex tables contain additional classifica-
of references on current regulations, recommenda-
tions (e.g. race, income, etc.). Each one of these more
tions, and best practices in the field. Three recent
complex tables could be constructed for a number of
publications deserve special mention: the Report
other variables or dimensions (e.g. a separate complex
on Statistical Disclosure Limitation Methodology
4

table for each state in which data were collected). The
issued by the Federal Committee on Statistical
table entries may be the actual number of respondents
Methodology, the Handbook on Statistical
falling into a given category (frequencies) or an aver-
Disclosure Control, a product of the Centre of
age, rate, percentage or other quantity that applies to
Excellence in Statistical Control,
5
and Expanding
respondents so categorized. ■
Access to Research Data: Reconciling Risks and
3
The PCDS website is found at www.amstat.org/committees/pc/ASA-P&C-Committee-Home.htm.
4
Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology, Working Papers Nos. 22 (Second version, 2005). Found at www.
fcsm.gov/reports/#fcsm.
5
Center of Excellence for Statistical Control, Handbook on Statistical Disclosure Control, Version 1.01, March 2007.
Found at http://neon.vb.cbs.nl/cenex.
6
National Academy of Sciences, Expanding Access to Research Data: Reconciling Risks and Opportunities, 2005.
7
For a more detailed discussion of these and related terms, see www.amstat.org/committees/pc/ASA-P&C-Committee-Home.
htm#keyterms.
FEBRUARY 2009 AMSTAT NEWS 9
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