Privacy protection of network world

The Internet has now become anubiquitous channel for information sharing and dissemination. This has created a wholenew set of research challenges, while giving a new spin to some existing ones.


In many scenarios, information exchange can provesocially beneļ¬cial. For example, if medical researchers have access to databases containing the medical histories of various individuals, they can discover the association betweencertain lifestyle factors and higher risk of certain diseases; geographical occurrence dataon communicable diseases can enable detection of the outbreak of epidemics at an earlystage, thereby preventing its spread to larger populations. With the goal of enabling suchapplications, it is quite desirable that hospitals make their records available to medical scientists. At the same time, such personal data has a great potential for misuse; for example,a health insurance company could exploit such data to selectively raise the health insurancepremiums of certain individuals.

Possible solution is that instead of releasing the entire database, the databaseowner answers aggregate queries posed by medical researchers after ensuring that answersto the queries do not reveal sensitive information. This approach is called query auditing [KPR03, KMN05, DN04a]. This requires the researchers to formulate their querieswithout access to any data. In this case, one can also use techniques from secure multiparty computation [Yao86, GMW87, LP02, AMP04, FNP04]. However, many of the datamining tasks are inherently ad hoc and the data mining researchers need to examine the datain order to discover data aggregation queries of interest. In such cases, query auditing andsecure function evaluation techniques do not provide an adequate solution, and we need torelease an anonymized view of the database that enables the computation of non-sensitivequery aggregates, perhaps with some error or uncertainty.

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