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Census Bureau's Privacy Practices Spur Accuracy Questions

DATA PROTECTION—U.S.

February 8, 2010

Director Robert M. Groves has ordered a review of the Census Bureau's identity protection practices after researchers found evidence that "masking" techniques have resulted in instances of flawed data, the Washington Post reports. "We have a very sacred burden to protect identities," Groves said. "We have given our pledge that nothing we ever do could identify who a record belongs to." However, a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research indicates certain census statistics released as "microdata" for research purposes between 2000 and 2005 might have been off by as much as 15 percent due to the Census Bureau's efforts to protect personal information.
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