Multivariate Microaggregation of Set-Valued Data


  • Malik Imran-Daud Department of Software engineering, Foundation University Islamabad
  • Muhammad Shaheen Department of Software engineering, Foundation University Islamabad
  • Abbas Ahmed Department of Software engineering, Foundation University Islamabad



Data controllers manage immense data, and occasionally, it is released publically to help the researchers to
conduct their studies. However, this publically shared data may hold personally identifiable information (PII)
that can be collected to re-identify a person. Therefore, an effective anonymization mechanism is required to
anonymize such data before it is released publically. Microaggregation is one of the Statistical Disclosure Control (SDC) methods that are widely used by many researchers. This method adapts the k-anonymity principle to
generate k-indistinguishable records in the same clusters to preserve the privacy of the individuals. However,
in these methods, the size of the clusters is fixed (i.e., k records), and the clusters generated through these methods may hold non-homogeneous records. By considering these issues, we propose an adaptive size clustering
technique that aggregates homogeneous records in similar clusters, and the size of the clusters is determined
after the semantic analysis of the records. To achieve this, we extend the MDAV microaggregation algorithm to
semantically analyze the unstructured records by relying on the taxonomic databases (i.e., WordNet), and then
aggregating them in homogeneous clusters. Furthermore, we propose a distance measure that determines the
extent to which the records differ from each other, and based on this, homogeneous adaptive clusters are constructed. In experiments, we measured the cohesiveness of the clusters in order to gauge the homogeneity of
records. In addition, a method is proposed to measure information loss caused by the redaction method. In experiments, the results show that the proposed mechanism outperforms the existing state-of-the-art solutions.