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Cell suppression methodology: the importance of suppressing marginal totals

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1 Author(s)
Chu, P.C. ; Dept. of Account. & Manage. Inf. Syst., Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH, USA

Safeguarding confidential information is of paramount concern to government agencies in publishing statistical data. Given a set of sensitive cells, the problem is to identify a set of complementary cells to suppress so as to mask the values of the sensitive cells. All of the existing cell suppression methods fail to consider the relationships among cell values and the representation of these relationships in marginal totals. That marginal totals may contain potent information has not been appreciated. The paper employs the theory of nominal data analysis to demonstrate that the disclosure of marginal totals can be very risky. It recommends adding a front end test to the existing methods. The goal is to identify a list of sensitive marginal totals that have to be suppressed. This increases the sophistication of cell suppression methodology by providing an extra layer of protection

Published in:

Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Jul/Aug 1997

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