Optimal Algorithms for Mean Estimation under Local Differential Privacy
In collaboration with Stanford University
AuthorsHilal Asi*, Vitaly Feldman*, Kunal Talwar*
We study the problem of mean estimation of
We also develop a new variant of PrivUnit based on the Gaussian distribution which is more amenable to mathematical analysis and enjoys the same optimality guarantees. This allows us to establish several useful properties on the exact constants of the optimal error as well as to numerically estimate these constants.
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.