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A measure of disclosure risk for microdata

Skinner, Chris J. and Elliot, M. J. (2002) A measure of disclosure risk for microdata. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series B: Statistical Methodology, 64 (4). pp. 855-867. ISSN 1369-7412

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9868.00365


Protection against disclosure is important for statistical agencies releasing microdata files from sample surveys. Simple measures of disclosure risk can provide useful evidence to support decisions about release. We propose a new measure of disclosure risk: the probability that a unique match between a microdata record and a population unit is correct. We argue that this measure has at least two advantages. First, we suggest that it may be a more realistic measure of risk than two measures that are currently used with census data. Second, we show that consistent inference (in a specified sense) may be made about this measure from sample data without strong modelling assumptions. This is a surprising finding, in its contrast with the properties of the two ‘similar’ established measures. As a result, this measure has potentially useful applications to sample surveys. In addition to obtaining a simple consistent predictor of the measure, we propose a simple variance estimator and show that it is consistent. We also consider the extension of inference to allow for certain complex sampling schemes. We present a numerical study based on 1991 census data for about 450 000 enumerated individuals in one area of Great Britain. We show that the theoretical results on the properties of the point predictor of the measure of risk and its variance estimator hold to a good approximation for these data.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2002 Wiley-Blackwell
Divisions: Statistics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2011 10:35
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2024 20:30

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