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The increasing use of fast and efficient data mining algorithms in huge collections of personal data, facilitated through the exponential growth of technology, in particular in the field of electronic data storage media and processing power, has raised serious ethical, philosophical and legal issues related to privacy protection. To cope with these concerns, several privacy preserving methodologies have been proposed, classified in two categories, methodologies that aim at protecting the sensitive data and those that aim at protecting the mining results. In our work, we focus on sensitive data protection and compare existing techniques according to their anonymity degree achieved, the information loss suffered and their performance characteristics. The l-diversity principle is combined with k-anonymity concepts, so that background information can not be exploited to successfully attack the privacy of data subjects data refer to. Based on Kohonen Self Organizing Feature Maps (SOMs), we firstly organize data sets in subspaces according to their information theoretical distance to each other, then create the most relevant classes paying special attention to rare sensitive attribute values, and finally generalize attribute values to the minimum extend required so that both the data disclosure probability and the information loss are possibly kept negligible. Furthermore, we propose information theoretical measures for assessing the anonymity degree achieved and empirical tests to demonstrate it.