[ppml] Proposed Policy: Residential Customer Privacy

Samuel Weiler weiler at tislabs.com
Thu Jan 19 13:42:16 EST 2006

Setting aside your implicit assertion that an individual's interest in
protecting her privacy should be trumped by a researcher's desire for
data, I'd like to explore the case you're making for still including
some of this geographic data.

Owen writes:

> Removing the City, State, and Postal code information would also
> reduce the availability of useful data for geographic address
> distribution research which has been identified as valuable by
> several participants on the list and at previous policy meetings.

How significant is this effect?  In particular, how much error in
introduced by assuming that either 1) the location for the
reassignment is the same as for the ISP's block or 2) that the
distribution of suppressed reassigned blocks is the same as that of
non-suppressed blocks?  Could you get some of those who've previously
identified the data as valuable to speak specifically about the
effects of these assumptions?

My suspicion is:
	a) either of the assumptions above would introduce
	   negligible error, and

	b) most residential customers aren't using reassigned blocks
	   anyway, so you're stuck with using the ISP's location for
	   most addresses anyway, so errors introduced by the above
	   assumptions are dwarfed by using non-customer-specific
	   locations for the bulk of addresses.

-- Sam

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