A Blockchain-Based Approach for Saving and Tracking Differential-Privacy Cost

01/25/2020 ∙ by fcq, et al. ∙ 0

An increasing amount of users' sensitive information is now being collected for analytics purposes. To protect users' privacy, differential privacy has been widely studied in the literature. Specifically, a differentially private algorithm adds noise to the true answer of a query to generate a noisy response. As a result, the information about the dataset leaked by the noisy output is bounded by the privacy parameter. Oftentimes, a dataset needs to be used for answering multiple queries (e.g., for multiple analytics tasks), so the level of privacy protection may degrade as more queries are answered. Thus, it is crucial to keep track of the privacy spending which should not exceed the given privacy budget. Moreover, if a query has been answered before and is asked again on the same dataset, we may reuse the previous noisy response for the current query to save the privacy cost. In view of the above, we design and implement a blockchain-based system for tracking and saving differential-privacy cost. Blockchain provides a distributed immutable ledger that records each query's type, the noisy response used to answer each query, the associated noise level added to the true query result, and the remaining privacy budget in our system. Furthermore, since the blockchain records the noisy response used to answer each query, we also design an algorithm to reuse previous noisy response if the same query is asked repeatedly. Specifically, considering that different requests of the same query may have different privacy requirements, our algorithm (via a rigorous proof) is able to set the optimal reuse fraction of the old noisy response and add new noise (if necessary) to minimize the accumulated privacy cost. Experimental results show that the proposed algorithm can reduce the privacy cost significantly without compromising data accuracy.

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