Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies (Jun 2015)

Privacy Games: Optimal User-Centric Data Obfuscation

  • Shokri Reza

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2015, no. 2
pp. 299 – 315


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Consider users who share their data (e.g., location) with an untrusted service provider to obtain a personalized (e.g., location-based) service. Data obfuscation is a prevalent user-centric approach to protecting users’ privacy in such systems: the untrusted entity only receives a noisy version of user’s data. Perturbing data before sharing it, however, comes at the price of the users’ utility (service quality) experience which is an inseparable design factor of obfuscation mechanisms. The entanglement of the utility loss and the privacy guarantee, in addition to the lack of a comprehensive notion of privacy, have led to the design of obfuscation mechanisms that are either suboptimal in terms of their utility loss, or ignore the user’s information leakage in the past, or are limited to very specific notions of privacy which e.g., do not protect against adaptive inference attacks or the adversary with arbitrary background knowledge.