What is CURF Microdata?

What is CURF microdata?

Microdata are the answers to individual questions on survey questionnaires.

Microdata are disclosed in the form of Confidentialised Unit Record Files (CURFs), which are files of responses to ABS surveys that have had specific identifying information about persons and organisations confidentialised.

Have you ever completed an ABS survey questionnaire? If so, your completed questionnaire is a 'unit record'. Your unit record and those of all respondents are then combined and confidentialised to form a CURF.

CURFs include the most detailed information available from the ABS.

Why is microdata confidentialised?

The ABS takes its responsibilities to protect the confidentiality of individuals' and organisations' data very seriously. This is fundamental to the trust the Australian public has in the ABS, and that trust is, in turn, fundamental to the excellent quality of ABS information. Without that trust, survey respondents may be less forthcoming or truthful in answering our questionnaires.

How are microdata confidentialised?

The most basic of the techniques employed by the ABS involves removing all identifying information, such as names and addresses.
Additionally, the data items that are most likely to enable identification of unit records are only released in broad categories. For example, while survey questionnaires may capture your home or business address, microdata may only be released at the State or Territory level.

More advanced confidentialisation occurs through checking the CURFs for records with uncommon combinations of responses. These records may be altered slightly to ensure individual respondents cannot be identified.

For more information, see 'Avoiding Inadvertent Disclosure' and 'Microdata' on our web page How the ABS keeps your information confidential.