Definition: Inferential disclosure

Statistical methodologies

Inferential disclosure occurs when information can be inferred with high confidence from statistical properties of the released data. For example, the data may show a high correlation between income and purchase price of home. As the purchase price of a home is typically public information, a third party might use this information to infer the income of a data subject. In general, NSIs are not concerned with inferential disclosure for two reasons. First, a major purpose of statistical data is to enable users to infer and understand relationships between variables. If NSIs equated disclosure with inference, no data could be released. Second, inferences are designed to predict aggregate behaviour, not individual attributes, and thus often poor predictors of individual data values.
Source:
ESSNet SDC (Network of Excellence in the European Statistical System in the field of Statistical Disclosure Control), under the coordination of Anco HUNDEPOOL, "Handbook on Statistical Disclosure Control", version 1.2 (2010 Edition)
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