Privacy Amplification by Subsampling in Time Domain

Tatsuki Koga · Casey Meehan · Kamalika Chaudhuri

[ Abstract ]
Mon 28 Mar 10:15 a.m. PDT — 11:45 a.m. PDT


Aggregate time-series data like traffic flow and site occupancy repeatedly sample statistics from a population across time. Such data can be profoundly useful for understanding trends within a given population, but also pose a significant privacy risk, potentially revealing \emph{e.g.,} who spends time where. Producing a private version of a time-series satisfying the standard definition of Differential Privacy (DP) is challenging due to the large influence a single participant can have on the sequence: if an individual can contribute to each time step, the amount of additive noise needed to satisfy privacy increases linearly with the number of time steps sampled. As such, if a signal spans a long duration or is oversampled, an excessive amount of noise must be added, drowning out underlying trends. However, in many applications an individual realistically \emph{cannot} participate at every time step. When this is the case, we observe that the influence of a single participant (sensitivity) can be reduced by subsampling and/or filtering in time, while still meeting privacy requirements. Using a novel analysis, we show this significant reduction in sensitivity and propose a corresponding class of privacy mechanisms. We demonstrate the utility benefits of these techniques empirically with real-world and synthetic time-series data.

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