Journal of Official Statistics, Vol.23, No.3, 2007. pp. 299–317

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Optimizing the Use of Microdata: An Overview of the Issues

“It is becoming clear that advances in technology and increased use of administrative records may, at some point in the future, render our current disclosure avoidance procedures inadequate. At the same time the … federal statistical system face[s] increasing demands for more, better and more recent data to meet critically important public policy and research needs.” “The extraordinary growth of electronic infrastructure, capacity, and use in the past decade has posed a profound new set of questions about the control, dissemination, power and use of information. On the one hand the high speed internet and the World Wide Web, email, electronic shopping, and cell-phone use have opened up extraordinary new worlds of communication and are changing the way we work, play, and learn. On the other, as the electronic world enters our daily lives, the private space untouched by the intrusions of cyberspace and information seekers shrinks – for individuals, firms, and organizations. … There is also another challenge. The need to build more efficient surveillance networks to combat potential terrorist attack argues for less privacy for the individual person or firm to guarantee the security of the society in general. It is in this environment that citizens, business and technology leaders, and policy makers have to figure out how to understand, manage, and regulate the new cyber world.”

Confidentiality, microdata access, access modalities, risk/utility tradeoff

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