Census Bureau Chief Defends New Privacy Tool Against Critics

Census Bureau

The director of the U.S. Census Bureau is defending a new tool meant to protect the privacy of participants in the statistical agency’s questionnaires against calls to abandon it by prominent researchers who claim it jeopardizes the utility of numbers that are the foundation of the nation’s data infrastructure.

According to a letter from U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Santos last week, the technique known as differential privacy “was selected as the best solution available” to thwart attempts by outside organisations or people to piece together the identities of participants in the bureau’s censuses and surveys using outside data and powerful computers.

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Privacy worries have increased recently as a result of an increase in cyberattacks and threats of misuse of personal information.

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