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From Idiosyncratic to Stereotypical: Toward Privacy in Public Databases

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  1. From Idiosyncratic to Stereotypical:Toward Privacy in Public Databases Shuchi Chawla, Cynthia Dwork, Frank McSherry, Adam Smith, Larry Stockmeyer, Hoeteck Wee

  2. Database Privacy • Census data – a prototypical example • Individuals provide information • Census bureau publishes sanitized records • Privacy is legally mandated; what utility can we achieve? • Our Goal: • What do we mean by preservation of privacy? • Characterize the trade-off between privacy and utility – disguise individual identifying information – preserve macroscopic properties • Develop a “good” sanitizing procedure with theoretical guarantees Shuchi Chawla

  3. An outline of this talk • A mathematical formalism • What do we mean by privacy? • Prior work • An abstract model of datasets • Isolation; Good sanitizations • A candidate sanitization • A brief overview of results • General argument for privacy of n-point datasets • Open issues and concluding remarks Shuchi Chawla

  4. Privacy… a philosophical view-point • [Ruth Gavison] … includes protection from being brought to the attention of others … • Matches intuition; inherently desirable • Attention invites further loss of privacy • Privacy is assured to the extent that one blends in with the crowd • Appealing definition; can be converted into a precise mathematical statement! Shuchi Chawla

  5. Database Privacy • Statistical approaches • Alter the frequency (PRAN/DS/PERT) of particular features, while preserving means. • Additionally, erase values that reveal too much • Query-based approaches • involve a permanent trusted third party • Query monitoring: dissallow queries that breach privacy • Perturbation: Add noise to the query output [Dinur Nissim’03, Dwork Nissim’04] • Statistical perturbation + adversarial analysis • [Evfimievsky et al ’03] combine statistical techniques with analysis similar to query-based approaches Shuchi Chawla

  6. Everybody’s First Suggestion • Learn the distribution, then output: • A description of the distribution, or, • Samples from the learned distribution • Want to reflect facts on the ground • Statistically insignificant facts can be important for allocating resources Shuchi Chawla

  7. A geometric view • Abstraction : • Points in a high dimensional metric space – say R d; drawn i.i.d. from some distribution • Points are unlabeled; you are your collection of attributes • Distance is everything • Real Database (RDB) – private n unlabeled points in d-dimensional space. • Sanitized Database (SDB) – public n’ new points possibly in a different space. Shuchi Chawla

  8. The adversary or Isolator cd d q x (c-1) d • Using SDB and auxiliary information (AUX), outputs a point q • q “isolates” a real point x, if it is much closer to x than to x’s neighbors, • T-radius of x – distance to its T-nearest neighbor • x is “safe” if x > (T-radius of x)/(c-1) B(q, cdx) contains x’s entire T-neighborhood i.e., if B(q,cd) contains less than T RDB points c – privacy parameter; eg. 4 large T and small c is good Shuchi Chawla

  9. A good sanitization • Sanitizing algorithm compromises privacy if the adversary is able to considerably increase his probability of isolating a point by looking at its output • A rigorous (and too ideal) definition D II ’ w.o.p RDB 2R Dnaux z  x 2 RDB : | Pr[I(SDB,z) isolates x] – Pr[I ’(z) isolates x] |· /n • Definition of  can be forgiving, say, 2-(d) or (1 in a 1000) • Quantification over x : If aux reveals info about some x, the privacy of some other y should still be preserved • Provides a framework for describing the power of a sanitization method, and hence for comparisons Shuchi Chawla

  10. The Sanitizer • The privacy of x is linked to its T-radius  Randomly perturb it in proportion to its T-radius • x’ = San(x) R S(x,T-rad(x)) • Intuition: • We are blending x in with its crowd If the number of dimensions (d) is large, there are “many” pre-images for x’. The adversary cannot conclusively pick any one. • We are adding random noise with mean zero to x, so several macroscopic properties should be preserved. Shuchi Chawla

  11. Results on privacy.. An overview Shuchi Chawla

  12. Results on utility… An overview Shuchi Chawla

  13. A special case - one sanitized point • RDB = {x1,…,xn} • The adversary is given n-1 real points x2,…,xn and one sanitized point x’1 ; T = 1; c=4; “flat” prior • Recall: x’1 2R S(x1,|x1-y|) where y is the nearest neighbor of x1 • Main idea: Consider the posterior distribution on x1 Show that the adversary cannot isolate a large probability mass under this distribution Shuchi Chawla

  14. A special case - one sanitized point Z Q∩Z q Q x6 • Let Z = { pR d | p is a legal pre-image for x’1 } Q = { p | if x1=p then x1 is isolated by q } • We show that Pr[ Q∩Z | x’1 ] ≤ 2-W(d) Pr[ Z | x’1 ] Pr[x1 in Q∩Z | x’1 ] = prob mass contribution from Q∩Z / contribution from Z = 21-d /(1/4) |p-q| · 1/3 |p-x’1| x3 x5 x’1 x2 x4 Shuchi Chawla

  15. Contribution from Z Z r x6 p • Pr[x1=p | x’1]  Pr[x’1 | x1=p]  1/rd (r = |x’1-p|) • Increase in r  x’1 gets randomized over a larger area – proportional to rd. Hence the inverse dependence. • Pr[x’1 | x12 S] sS 1/rd solid angle subtended at x’1 • Z subtends a solid angle equal to at least half a sphere at x’1 x3 x5 x’1 x2 S x4 Shuchi Chawla

  16. Contribution from Q Å Z Z q Q x6 • The ellipsoid is roughly as far from x’1 as its longest radius • Contribution from ellipsoid is  2-d x total solid angle • Therefore, Pr[x1 2 QÅZ] / Pr[x1 2 Z]  2-d x3 Q∩Z x5 x’1 r r x2 x4 Shuchi Chawla

  17. The general case… n sanitized points • Initial intuition is wrong: • Privacy of x1 given x1’ and all the other points in the clear does not imply privacy of x1 given x1’ and sanitizations of others! • Sanitization is non-oblivious – Other sanitized points reveal information about x, if x is their nearest neighbor • Where we are now • Consider some example of safe sanitization (not necessarily using perturbations) • Density regions? Histograms? • Relate perturbations to the safe sanitization • Uniform distribution; histogram over fixed-size cells  exponentially low probability of isolation Shuchi Chawla

  18. Future directions • Extend the privacy argument to other “nice”distributions • For what distributions is there no meaningful privacy—utility trade-off? • Characterize acceptable auxiliary information • Think of auxiliary information as an a priori distribution • The low-dimensional case – Is it inherently impossible? • Discrete-valued attributes • Our proofs require a “spread” in all attributes • Extend the utility argument to other interesting macroscopic properties – e.g. correlations Shuchi Chawla

  19. Conclusions • Our work so far: • A first step towards understanding the privacy-utility trade-off • A general and rigorous definition of privacy • A work in progress! • How does this compare to other frameworks e.g. Query-based approaches? • Query-based approaches: directly identify good and bad functions • Our approach: summarize “good” functions by a “sanitized database” Shuchi Chawla

  20. Questions? Shuchi Chawla