Statistics Canada - Statistique Canada

An overview of the issues related to the use of personal identifiers


The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of existing methods and techniques making use of personal identifiers to support record linkage. Record linkage can be loosely defined as a methodology for manipulating and / or transforming personal identifiers from individual data records from one or more operational databases and subsequently attempting to match these personal identifiers to create a composite record about an individual. Record linkage is not intended to uniquely identify individuals for operational purposes; however, it does provide probabilistic matches of varying degrees of reliability for use in statistical reporting. Techniques employed in record linkage may also be of use for investigative purposes to help narrow the field of search against existing databases when some form of personal identification information exists.

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