Data De-identification: An Overview of Basic Terms

Organization: PTAC, U.S. Department of Education
Published: May 1, 2013

This document is intended to assist educational agencies and institutions with maintaining compliance with privacy and confidentiality requirements under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) by reviewing basic terminology used to describe data de-identification (see de-identification below) as well as related concepts and approaches.
In addition to defining and clarifying the distinction among several key terms, the paper provides general best practice suggestions regarding data de-identification strategies for different types of data. The information is presented in the form of an alphabetized list of definitions, followed at the end by additional resources on FERPA requirements and statistical techniques that can be used to protect student data against disclosures.