Privacy-Enhancing Technologies

Task Team of the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics


The PET Task Team is investigating methodologies and approaches to mitigate privacy risks when using sensitive or confidential data, which are collectively referred to as privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs).

We do this by:

  • Analysing the needs and use cases
  • Researching the application of PETs for use cases in official statistics
  • Disseminating the knowledge
  • Supporting the community of PET practitioners in NSOs

... with the goal to accelerate the adoption of PETs within the NSO community.

Three Core Pillars

Experimentation (PET Lab)

A series of active proofs-of-concept and pilot projects focused on the evaluation of PETs for real-world use cases in the official statistics community.

  • Proving Value
  • Understanding practical challenges
  • Engaging with stakeholders
  • Building a privacy technology literacy

Outreach & Training

Focus on sharing learnings and insights from the use of PETs with the wider statistical community through training, public events, and educational material.

  • Official Guides & Overviews
  • Talks & Presentations
  • Use Case Repository
  • Collaborating with Massively Online Open Courseware

Support Services

A mechanism to enable those utilizing PETs to engage with the committee and its collaborators for support and advice.

  • Practical guidance
  • Partnerships
  • Access to knowledge
  • Acting as a bridge

News and Events

  • 2024

    29 FEB

    Enabling responsible access to sensitive microdata using privacy enhancing technologies
    Side Event of the 55th Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission

    New York, USA

    This webinar aims to explore cutting-edge approaches for handling sensitive microdata while preserving privacy. Experts will discuss state-of-the-art techniques, real-world applications, and collaborative efforts across international projects. Join us for insightful presentations, engaging discussions, and an open Q&A session.

  • 2023

    3 NOV

    6 NOV

    UN Datathon 2023

    Montevideo, Uruguay Virtual

    Leverage technology and your expertise to develop innovative solutions for a more sustainable and equitable future.

    Join us on this journey of innovation, exploration, and problem-solving as we harness the power of data to create a more sustainable and resilient world.

    Datathon participants will develop innovative data-driven applications, tools or statistical models combining geospatial data with other data sources to help advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

  • 2023

    9 FEB

    Privacy Enhancing Technologies for Official Statistics
    Launch of the UN Guide on Privacy-Enhancing Technologies for Official Statistics

    Virtual Side Event of the 54th Session of the United Nations Statistical Commission

    In recent years, almost every government has been faced with very serious challenges, such as the global health pandemic, supply chain disruption, rising energy and food prices, and decreasing household budgets. To handle these crises in the right way, our leaders need the right data at the right time. National statistical offices are tasked to provide these trusted, relevant, timely and high-quality data. All of those data are very sensitive in terms of private information on persons or businesses.

    To gain access to the sensitive data while guaranteeing that privacy will be preserved, privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) are receiving increased attention. Whereas legal arrangements on data sharing can lead to unwanted breaches, the promise of PETs is that privacy is guaranteed. If you cannot see the original data at any time, you cannot by accident reveal any original information.

    In this webinar, experts of the task team on PETs will launch the "UN Guide on PETs for Official Statistics". The program is as follows.

  • 2022

    8 NOV

    11 NOV

    UN PET Lab Hackathon

    Various Virtual

    The United Nations Privacy-Enhancing Technologies Lab, known as the PET Lab, will be running a third hackathon stream for the first time this year. The PET stream will take the form of a typical data science competition, such as those on the Kaggle or DrivenData platforms, but with one special new characteristic: participants will interact with training data only via privacy-enhancing technologies. For more information, check the UN PET Lab Hackathon page.

  • 2022

    8 FEB

    What is the UN PET Lab and why is it important?

    Virtual side event of the 53rd United Nations Statistical Commission

    The UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics has announced the launch of a pilot programme, to make international data sharing more secure by using Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs). The UN PET Lab is running a pilot program with several National Statistical Offices (NSOs). The lab will demonstrate that PETs can make fully compliant data sharing between organizations possible. PETs help data providers and data users to safely share information by using encryption and protocols that allow someone to produce useful output data without “seeing” the input data. They also typically ensure that data will be protected throughout its lifecycle, and that outputs cannot be used to ‘reverse engineer’ the original data. The PET Lab will see statistical organizations collaborate with technology providers who offer PET technologies. The Lab expects new users and providers to join in due course.

Task Team Membership view list of individual members

National Statistical Office
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics
  • Statistics Canada
  • Istat (Italy)
  • Statistics Netherlands
  • Federal Statistical Office (Switzerland)
  • Office of National Statistics (UK)
  • Centre for Data Ethics & Innovation (CDEI UK)
  • US Census Bureau
International Agencies
  • Eurostat
  • United Nations Statistics Division
  • Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University
  • Boston University/MIT
  • Centre for Infectious Diseases Genomics and One Health, Simon Fraser University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Georgetown University
  • Indian School of Business
  • University of Bath
Tech / Industry
  • Galois
  • OpenDP
  • Openmined
  • Samsung SDS