LDI Director John Abowd Speaks at JPSM/MPSM Seminar Series

Sep 21, 2016: University of Maryland/Joint Program on Survey Methodology Seminar Series

Speaker: John M. Abowd, Director of the Labor Dynamics Institute, Associate Director for Research and Methodology and Chief Scientist, U.S. Census Bureau

Title: The Challenge of Scientific Reproducibility and Privacy Protection for Statistical Agencies

Abstract: The dual problems of respecting citizen privacy and protecting the confidentiality of their data - Ken Prewitt's famous "don't ask/don't tell" dictum - have become hopelessly conflated in the "Big Data" era. There are orders of magnitude more data outside an agency's firewall than inside it - compromising the integrity of traditional statistical disclosure limitation wholly outside the agency's operations - blurring the distinction between what was asked and what is published. Already private businesses like Microsoft, Google, and Apple recognize that cybersecuirty (safeguarding the integrity and access controls for internal data) and privacy protection (ensuring that what is published does not reveal too much about any person or business) are two sides of the same coin. This is a paradigm-shifting moment for statistical agencies. This talk will examine how statistical agencies can respond in manner consistent with their missions.