Why the Economics Profession Cannot Cede the Discussion of Privacy Protection to Computer Scientists
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Abowd, John M.; Schmutte, Ian M.; Sexton, William N.; Vilhuber, Lars
When Google or the U.S. Census Bureau publish detailed statistics on browsing habits or neighborhood characteristics, some privacy is lost for everybody while supplying public information. To date, economists have not focused on the privacy loss inherent in data publication. In their stead, these issues have been advanced almost exclusively by computer scientists who are primarily interested in technical problems associated with protecting privacy. Economists should join the discussion, first, to determine where to balance privacy protection against data quality; a social choice problem. Furthermore, economists must ensure new privacy models preserve the validity of public data for economic research.
Presented at the Allied Social Science Association meeting 2019 in the session "The Future of Economic Research Under Rising Risks and Costs of Information Disclosure", Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM https://www.aeaweb.org/conference/2019/preliminary/851
This research was partially funded through NSF Grant #1131848 (NCRN) and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant G-2015-13903. The views expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and not those of the U.S. Census Bureau or other sponsors.
Presented at the Allied Social Science Association Meeting 2019
privacy; disclosure; statistical disclosure limitation
Full paper forthcoming in the American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings (2019)
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