Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.14, No.4, 1998. pp. 537551

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Using Noise for Disclosure Limitation of Establishment Tabular Data

We propose a new disclosure limitation method for establishment magnitude tabular data in which noise is added to the underlying microdata prior to tabulation. The proposed method has several advantages compared to the standard method of cell suppression: it enables some information to be provided within more cells of the table, it eliminates the need to coordinate cell suppression patterns between tables, and it is a much less complicated and time-consuming procedure than cell suppression. In this article we outline the proposed procedure for adding noise to the underlying establishment microdata, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of adding noise as compared to cell suppression, and describe the results of using noise with data from one survey.

Disclosure limitation; noise; confidentiality; cell suppression; magnitude data.

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