Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.14, No.4, 1998. pp. 347–360
A Database System Prototype for Remote Access to
Information Based on Confidential Data
Sallie Keller-McNulty and Elizabeth A. Unger
Abstract: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.
Keywords:Data access; disclosure limitation; computer security; data
confidentiality; database security.
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