View publication

*= Equal Contributors

We study the relationship between two desiderata of algorithms in statistical inference and machine learning—differential privacy and robustness to adversarial data corruptions. Their conceptual similarity was first observed by Dwork and Lei (STOC 2009), who observed that private algorithms satisfy robustness, and gave a general method for converting robust algorithms to private ones. However, all general methods for transforming robust algorithms into private ones lead to suboptimal error rates. Our work gives the first black-box transformation that converts any adversarially robust algorithm into one that satisfies pure differential privacy. Moreover, we show that for any low-dimensional estimation task, applying our transformation to an optimal robust estimator results in an optimal private estimator. Thus, we conclude that for any low-dimensional task, the optimal error rate for ε-differentially private estimators is essentially the same as the optimal error rate for estimators that are robust to adversarially corrupting training samples. We apply our transformation to obtain new optimal private estimators for several high-dimensional tasks, including Gaussian (sparse) linear regression and PCA. Finally, we present an extension of our transformation that leads to approximate differentially private algorithms whose error does not depend on the range of the output space, which is impossible under pure differential privacy

Related readings and updates.

Apple Privacy-Preserving Machine Learning Workshop 2022

Earlier this year, Apple hosted the Workshop on Privacy-Preserving Machine Learning (PPML). This virtual event brought Apple and members of the academic research communities together to discuss the state of the art in the field of privacy-preserving machine learning through a series of talks and discussions over two days.

See event details

Learning with Privacy at Scale

Understanding how people use their devices often helps in improving the user experience. However, accessing the data that provides such insights — for example, what users type on their keyboards and the websites they visit — can compromise user privacy. We develop a system architecture that enables learning at scale by leveraging local differential privacy, combined with existing privacy best practices. We design efficient and scalable local differentially private algorithms and provide rigorous analyses to demonstrate the tradeoffs among utility, privacy, server computation, and device bandwidth. Understanding the balance among these factors leads us to a successful practical deployment using local differential privacy. This deployment scales to hundreds of millions of users across a variety of use cases, such as identifying popular emojis, popular health data types, and media playback preferences in Safari. We provide additional details about our system in the full version.

See article details