Local Obfuscation Mechanisms for Hiding Probability Distributions

12/03/2018
by   Yusuke Kawamoto, et al.
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We introduce a formal model for the information leakage of probability distributions and define a notion called distribution privacy. Roughly, the distribution privacy of a local obfuscation mechanism means that the attacker cannot significantly gain any information on the distribution of the mechanism's input by observing its output. Then we show that existing local mechanisms can hide input distributions in terms of distribution privacy, while deteriorating the utility by adding too much noise. For example, we prove that the Laplace mechanism needs to add a large amount of noise proportionally to the infinite Wasserstein distance between the two distributions we want to make indistinguishable. To improve the tradeoff between distribution privacy and utility, we introduce a local obfuscation mechanism, called a tupling mechanism, that adds random dummy data to the output. Then we apply this mechanism to the protection of user attributes in location based services. By experiments, we demonstrate that the tupling mechanism outperforms popular local mechanisms in terms of attribute obfuscation and service quality.

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