Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.14, No.4, 1998. pp. 347360

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A Database System Prototype for Remote Access to Information Based on Confidential Data

U.S. federal statistical agencies collect data under the protection of confidentiality. The public expects timely and equitable dissemination of information contained in this data. There is also a demand for access to the data from federal agencies for legitimate research purposes. Thus, there exists a tension between data access and data confidentiality. The computer science community in harmony with the statistics community needs to aggressively develop new data access procedures that maintain data confidentiality in ways that are consistent with federal policy. This article discusses the development of a prototype for a remote data access system that releases useful analytical results while protecting the confidentiality of the data. The prototype data access system combines computer science database technology with statistical data disclosure limiting techniques. These results provide evidence that the amalgamation of computer technology with statistical methodologies should be able to provide confidentiality protection of data while enhancing the quantity and quality of the released analytical results.

Data access; disclosure limitation; computer security; data confidentiality; database security.

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