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Cell Suppression Methodology: The Importance of Suppressing Marginal Totals
July-August 1997 (vol. 9 no. 4)
pp. 513-523

Abstract—Safeguarding confidential information is of paramount concern to government agencies in publishing statistical data. Given a set of sensitive cells, the problem is to identify a set of complementary cells to suppress so as to mask the values of the sensitive cells. All of the existing cell suppression methods fail to consider the relationships among cell values and the representation of these relationships in marginal totals. That marginal totals may contain potent information has not been appreciated. This paper employs the theory of nominal data analysis to demonstrate that the disclosure of marginal totals can be very risky. It recommends adding a front-end test to the existing methods. The goal is to identify a list of sensitive marginal totals that have to be suppressed. This increases the sophistication of cell suppression methodology by providing an extra layer of protection.

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Index Terms:
Cell suppression, statistical data, disclosure control, nominal data analysis, data security.
P.c. Chu, "Cell Suppression Methodology: The Importance of Suppressing Marginal Totals," IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 513-523, July-Aug. 1997, doi:10.1109/69.617047
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