Protecting Individual-Level Census Data with Differential Privacy
Published May 18, 2020
21 min
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    The power of finely-grained, individual-level data comes with a drawback: it compromises the privacy of potentially anyone and everyone in the dataset. Even for de-identified datasets, there can be ways to re-identify the records or otherwise figure out sensitive personal information. That problem has motivated the study of differential privacy, a set of techniques and definitions for keeping personal information private when datasets are released or used for study. Differential privacy is getting a big boost this year, as it’s being implemented across the 2020 US Census as a way of protecting the privacy of census respondents while still opening up the dataset for research and policy use. When two important topics come together like this, we can’t help but sit up and pay attention.
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