Confidentiality in Data Release

Confidentiality in Data Release

Confidentiality Protection in Data Release Documentation

Deapen D, Legislation, Regulations, and Confidentiality. In Central Cancer Registries, Design, Management and Use, 2nd Edition, Menck HR, Deapan D, Phillips JL and Tucker TC editors. 2007. Kendall/Hunt. Dubuque Iowa.

The chapter provides a good overview of the principles and purposes of public health surveillance with a focus on issues relating to the release of cancer data. There is a balanced discussion about the benefits and risks of the release of cancer data and the search for an approach that benefits public health while minimizing the risks to individuals. The chapter includes brief discussions of confidentiality protection as it pertains to registry operations as well as the release of aggregate data, of restricted access or public use files, and of identifiable data for research. The chapter also covers in more depth issues related to contacting patients for research that central registries could use as a guide in developing their policies.

Doyle P et al, editors, Confidentiality, Disclosure and Data Access, Theory and Practical Applications for Statistical Agencies. 2001, Elsevier, New York.

There is a fundamental tension at the heart of every statistical agency. Each is charged with collecting high quality data to inform national policy and enable statistical research. This necessitates dissemination of both summary and microdata. Each is also charged with protecting the confidentiality of survey respondents. This often necessitates the blurring of the data to reduce the probability of the re-identification of individuals. This dilemma, which could well be stated as protecting confidentiality (avoiding disclosure) but optimizing access, has become more complex as both technological advances and public perceptions have altered in the information age. Fortunately, statistical disclosure techniques have kept pace with these changes. This volume is intended to provide a review of new state of the art techniques that directly address these issues from both a theoretical and practical perspective.

It provides a review of new research in the area of confidentiality and statistical disclosure techniques. A major section of the book provides an overview of new advances in the field of both economic and demographic data in measuring disclosure risk and information loss. It also presents new information on the different approaches taken by statistical agencies in disseminating data – ranging from licensing agreements, to secure access and provides a new survey of what statistical disclosure techniques are used by statistical agencies around the world. This is complimented by a series of chapters on public perceptions of statistical agency actions, including the results of a new survey on business perceptions. The book concludes with a chapter on the challenges of technology to data protection.


  • Introduction. Disclosure limitation methods in use: results of a survey (F. Felso, J. Theeuwes, G.G. Wagner).
  • Information Explosion (L. Sweeney).
  • Disclosure risk assessment (M. Elliot).
  • Disclosure control methods and information loss for microdata (J. Domingo-Ferrer, V. Torra).
  • A quantitative comparison of disclosure control methods for microdata (J. Domingo-Ferrer, V. Torra). Disclosure limitation methods and information loss for tabular data (G.T. Duncan, et al.).
  • Disclosure risk for tabular economic data (L.H Cox).
  • Nonperturbative disclosure control methods for tabular data (S. Giessing).
  • Disclosure limitation in longitudinal linked data (J.M. Abowd, S.D. Woodcock).
  • Licensing (M.M. Seastrom).
  • Issues in the establishment and management of secure research sites (T. Dunne).
  • The potential of confidentiality and attitudes toward data sharing by federal agencies (E. Singer).
  • The privacy context of survey response: an ethnographic account (E.R. Gerber).
  • Business perceptions of confidentiality (N. Greenia, J. Bradford Jensen, J. Lane).

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