INSPECTRE: Privately Estimating the Unseen

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Jayadev Acharya
Gautam Kamath
Ziteng Sun
Huanyu Zhang


We develop differentially private methods for estimating various distributional properties. Given a sample from a discrete distribution p, some functional f, and accuracy and privacy parameters alpha and epsilon, the goal is to estimate f(p) up to accuracy alpha, while maintaining epsilon-differential privacy of the sample. We prove almost-tight bounds on the sample size required for this problem for several functionals of interest, including support size, support coverage, and entropy. We show that the cost of privacy is negligible in a variety of settings, both theoretically and experimentally. Our methods are based on a sensitivity analysis of several state-of-the-art methods for estimating these properties with sublinear sample complexities

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Acharya, Jayadev, Gautam Kamath, Ziteng Sun, and Huanyu Zhang. 2021. “INSPECTRE: Privately Estimating the Unseen”. Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality 10 (2).
TPDP 2018

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