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Any variable or set of variables which is structurally unique for every population unit, for example a population registration number. If the formal identifier is known to the intruder, identification of a target individual is directly possible for him or her, without the necessity to have additional knowledge before studying the microdata. Some combinations of variables such as name and address are pragmatic formal identifiers, where non-unique instances are empirically possible, but with negligible probability.

Source Publication:
Statistics Netherlands, Statistics Canada, Germany FSO, University of Manchester, 2005, Glossary of Statistical Disclosure Control, incorporated in paper presented at Joint UNECE/Eurostat work session on statistical data confidentiality, Geneva, 9-11 October 2005.

Statistical Theme: Methodological information (metadata)

Created on Thursday, November 10, 2005