Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality


Sample survey weights represent a standard part of the survey statistician's repertoire, but they remain a mystery for many of those who work with survey data. They also pose a potential challenge for confidentiality protection. Much has been written about how to use weights in statistical analyses since the basic idea of weighted estimates|weighting units inversely proportional to their probability of selection|emerged from the classic paper by Horvitz and Thompson. Very little has been written about the e ffect of releasing survey weights on the confidentiality of survey data. The two topics are inextricably intertwined. This paper discusses both, largely from the model-based perspective, and explains what is claimed and/or known about the issue of confidentiality protection. The paper also provides a prescription for ways to deal with weights both for analysis and for disclosure limitation.