Perceptions of confidentiality protection at statistical agencies: Some evidence from data on businesses and households

Nick Greenia, Julia Lane, Diane Willimack

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


This paper provides an overview of research into public perceptions of confidentiality. Statistical agencies expend a great deal of time and resources to protect the data that they collect from unauthorized disclosure and identification of individual responses. However, data protection, by its very nature, involves either reducing data quality or limiting access to the very information that statistical agencies go to so much trouble and expense to collect. Many statistical agencies know little about an important input into the data protection decision: the degree to which their own respondents - both businesses and households - understand and believe that statistical agencies have, in fact, delivered on their confidentiality promises and how such perceptions affect their responses. This paper provides a brief survey of the selected knowledge in the area. Results for the United States suggest that much work needs to be done to further this knowledge, and the paper argues that research into perceptions should be institutionalised by statistical agencies and used to inform data protection decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-314
Number of pages6
JournalStatistical Journal of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems

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