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The probability of identification: applying ideas from forensic statistics to disclosure risk assessment

Skinner, Chris J. (2007) The probability of identification: applying ideas from forensic statistics to disclosure risk assessment. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A: Statistics in Society, 170 (1). pp. 195-212. ISSN 0964-1998

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-985X.2006.00457.x


The paper establishes a correspondence between statistical disclosure control and forensic statistics regarding their common use of the concept of ‘probability of identification’. The paper then seeks to investigate what lessons for disclosure control can be learnt from the forensic identification literature. The main lesson that is considered is that disclosure risk assessment cannot, in general, ignore the search method that is employed by an intruder seeking to achieve disclosure. The effects of using several search methods are considered. Through consideration of the plausibility of assumptions and ‘worst case’ approaches, the paper suggests how the impact of search method can be handled. The paper focuses on foundations of disclosure risk assessment, providing some justification for some modelling assumptions underlying some existing record level measures of disclosure risk. The paper illustrates the effects of using various search methods in a numerical example based on microdata from a sample from the 2001 UK census.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 Wiley-Blackwell
Divisions: Statistics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
Sets: Departments > Statistics
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2011 12:51
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2020 03:34

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