A Re-examination of the Census Bureau Reconstruction and Reidentification Attack

11 Pages Posted: 11 May 2022

Date Written: May 8, 2022

Abstract

Recent analysis by researchers at the U.S. Census Bureau claims that by reconstructing the tabular data released from the 2010 Census, it is possible to reconstruct the original data and, using an accurate external data file with identity, reidentify 179 million respondents (approximately 58% of the population). This study shows that there are a practically infinite number of possible reconstructions, and each reconstruction leads to assigning a different identity to the respondents in the reconstructed data. The results reported by the Census Bureau researchers are based on just one of these infinite possible reconstructions and is easily refuted by an alternate reconstruction. Without definitive proof that the reconstruction is unique, or at the very least, that most reconstructions lead to the assignment of the same identity to the same respondent, claims of confirmed reidentification are highly suspect and easily refuted.

Keywords: Database, Reidentification, Reconstruction, Census

JEL Classification: C00

Suggested Citation

Muralidhar, Krish, A Re-examination of the Census Bureau Reconstruction and Reidentification Attack (May 8, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4103758 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4103758

Krish Muralidhar (Contact Author)

University of Oklahoma ( email )

307 W Brooks
Norman, OK 73019
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
99
Abstract Views
344
rank
371,051
PlumX Metrics