Spring 2019

Matching Uses and Data Protections for Government Data

Thursday, Mar. 7, 2019 2:00 pm2:45 pm PST

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Micah Altman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

In this talk, we describe work in progress that aims to align emerging methods of data protections with research uses. We use the American Community Survey as an exemplar case for examining the range of ways that government data is used for research. We identify the range of research uses by combining evidence of use from multiple sources including research articles; national and local media coverage; social media; and research proposals. We then employ human and computer-assisted coding methods to characterize the range of data analysis methodologies that researchers employ. Then, building on previous work that surveys and characterizes computational and technical controls for privacy, we match these methods to available and emerging privacy and data security controls. Our preliminary analysis suggests that tiered-access to government data will be necessary to support current and new research in the social and health sciences.

Joint work with Cavan Capps, Dylan Sam, Zachary Lizee.