Discrete Distribution Estimation under Local Privacy


Peter Kairouz, Keith Bonawitz, Daniel Ramage ;
Proceedings of The 33rd International Conference on Machine Learning, PMLR 48:2436-2444, 2016.


The collection and analysis of user data drives improvements in the app and web ecosystems, but comes with risks to privacy. This paper examines discrete distribution estimation under local privacy, a setting wherein service providers can learn the distribution of a categorical statistic of interest without collecting the underlying data. We present new mechanisms, including hashed k-ary Randomized Response (KRR), that empirically meet or exceed the utility of existing mechanisms at all privacy levels. New theoretical results demonstrate the order-optimality of KRR and the existing RAPPOR mechanism at different privacy regimes.

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