At what point does the sacrifice to our personal information outweigh the public good?
If public policymakers had access to our personal and confidential data, they could make more evidence-based, data-informed decisions that could accelerate economic recovery and improve COVID-19 vaccine distribution. However, access to personal data comes at a steep privacy cost for contributors, especially underrepresented groups.
Protecting Your Privacy in a Data-Driven World is a practical, nontechnical guide that explains the importance of balancing these competing needs and calls for careful consideration of how data are collected and disseminated by our government and the private sector. Not addressing these concerns can harm the same communities policymakers are trying to protect through data privacy and confidentiality legislation.
Table of Contents
1. Why Is Data Privacy Important?
WHAT IS DATA PRIVACY?
WHY SHOULD ANYONE CARE?
WHY IS BALANCING DATA PRIVACY AND UTILITY HARD?
WHY IS THERE INEQUALITY IN PRIVACY?
WHAT WILL BE COVERED IN THIS BOOK?
2. How Did Data Privacy Change Over Time?
HOW DID DATA PRIVACY BEGIN FOR THE UNITED STATES CENSUS BUREAU?
HOW DID TITLE BECOME LAW?
WHAT ARE OTHER UNITED STATES LAWS
THAT REGULATE FEDERAL STATISTICS?
3. How Do Data Privacy Methods Expand Access to Data?
WHAT ARE THE PAST AND CURRENT DISCLOSURE CONTROL METHODS?
WHAT ARE OTHER WAYS TO ACCESS DATA?
WHY ARE NEW DISCLOSURE CONTROL METHODS STILL BEING DEVELOPED?
4. How Do Data Privacy Methods Avoid Invalidating Results?
HOW IS DATA PRIVACY DEFINED?
WHAT IS AN ACCEPTABLE PRIVACY-LOSS LIMIT?
HOW IS DATA QUALITY ENSURED?
WHY IS BALANCING DATA PRIVACY AND UTILITY STILL HARD?
WHAT IS THE DATA PRIVACY FRAMEWORK?
TO POST-PROCESS OR NOT TO POSTPROCESS?
5. What Makes Datasets Difficult for Data Privacy?
WHY DOES CONTRACT TRACING COST PRIVACY?
WHY DOES MEMORY FADE OVER TIME BUT PRIVACY DOES NOT?
WHY ARE PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS COMPLICATED?
HOW CAN RURAL AMERICA DISAPPEAR?
6. What Data Privacy Laws Exist?
WHAT IS THE GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION?
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR THE GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION?
WHAT DATA PRIVACY LAWS EXIST IN THE UNITED STATES?
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR FUTURE UNITED STATES DATA PRIVACY LAWS?
7. What Is the Future of Data Privacy?
WHY ARE THERE NOT ENOUGH USE CASES?
WHY USE A TIERED SYSTEM TO ACCESS DATA?
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ADDRESS THE INEQUALITY IN DATA PRIVACY?
WHAT DATA PRIVACY RESOURCES ARE NEEDED?
Dr. Claire McKay Bowen is the Lead Data Scientist for Privacy and Data Security at the Urban Institute. Her research focuses on developing and assessing the quality of di erentially private data synthesis methods and science communication. She holds a BS in mathematics and physics from Idaho State University and an MS and PhD in statistics from the University of Notre Dame. After completing her PhD, she worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she investigated cosmic ray effects on supercomputers.
In 2021, the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies identified her as an emerging leader in statistics for her “contributions to the development and broad dissemination of Statistics and Data Science methods and concepts, particularly in the emerging field of Data Privacy, and for leadership of technical initiatives, professional development activities, and educational programs.”
"Staffers and non-technical policy/think-tank researchers need this book. Also data users, like state demographers or public health officials, who need to understand how their data are affected by privacy preserving approaches, but who do not need to know the technical details."
-Amy O’Hara, Georgetown University
"I worked in the Federal Statistical system for several years on the analysis and dissemination of household survey data, preparation of public uses files, and the submission of requests to the Disclosure Review Board. Even with my experience, I found the book fascinating, comprehensive, and valuable for developing a foundation to understand traditional and emerging data privacy issues."
-Stephanie Shipp, Biocomplexity Institute, University of Virginia
"The author introduces traditional data privacy techniques, such as data suppression, top-and bottom-coding and categorical thresholding, as well as modern approaches, most notably differential privacy, at a high, non-technical level. This is done in a clear and accessible way, making the book a good resource for the layperson or as a first glimpse into the complex world of data privacy. Readers with technical backgrounds may still find some of the chapters quite enlightening. I especially appreciated the discussion of issues surrounding the process of releasing personal data in the real world. ... In conclusion, Claire McKay Bowen has written a valuable introduction to the increasingly important area of data privacy."
-Stefan Stein, in Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A (Statistics in Society), April 2022