Minimizing Disclosure Risk in HHS Open Data Initiatives. B. Organization of the Report


The concerns discussed above—new technologies, increasing amounts of data being made available to the public, growing numbers of other data sources, and the tools available to determined adversaries—provide a compelling motivation for federal agencies to continuously re-assess the risks of disclosure due to the mosaic effect. ASPE established this project to promote greater sharing of information about methods, data sources, and how to minimize disclosure risk among federal agencies in order to benefit the government and the public. The communication of best practices, lessons learned, and the state of the art in de-identification and re-identification methodologies should be useful to federal officials and others who make data publicly available and are simultaneously responsible for ensuring the privacy of respondents and the confidentiality of these data files.

This report summarizes the principal findings from the project. Chapter II presents a summary of federal legislation and regulations regarding the release and protection of personal data along with recent policy statements with respect to open data. The chapter is based on material presented in the first background paper (Appendix D). Chapter III summarizes federal procedures for providing the public with access to government data while preserving the confidentiality of the individuals and businesses from whom the data was collected. This chapter draws on material presented in both background papers and one of the TEP sessions. Chapter IV reviews key issues in protecting public use microdata from disclosure. The chapter draws on the second background paper (Appendix E). This is followed in Chapter V by a summary of the experts’ views expressed during two panel discussions at the TEP meeting. Chapter VI synthesizes the key findings from the project.

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