An Efficient Two‑Layer Mechanism for Privacy‑Preserving Truth Discovery

author: Yaliang Li, Baidu Research
published: Nov. 23, 2018,   recorded: August 2018,   views: 408

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Soliciting answers from online users is an efficient and effective solution to many challenging tasks. Due to the variety in the quality of users, it is important to infer their ability to provide correct answers during aggregation. Therefore, truth discovery methods can be used to automatically capture the user quality and aggregate user-contributed answers via a weighted combination. Despite the fact that truth discovery is an effective tool for answer aggregation, existing work falls short of the protection towards the privacy of participating users. To fill this gap, we propose perturbation-based mechanisms that provide users with privacy guarantees and maintain the accuracy of aggregated answers. We first present a one-layer mechanism, in which all the users adopt the same probability to perturb their answers. Aggregation is then conducted on perturbed answers but the aggregation accuracy could drop accordingly. To improve the utility, a two-layer mechanism is proposed where users are allowed to sample their own probabilities from a hyper distribution. We theoretically compare the one-layer and two-layer mechanisms, and prove that they provide the same privacy guarantee while the two-layer mechanism delivers better utility. This advantage is brought by the fact that the two-layer mechanism can utilize the estimated user quality information from truth discovery to reduce the accuracy loss caused by perturbation, which is confirmed by experimental results on real-world datasets. Experimental results also demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed two-layer mechanism in privacy protection with tolerable accuracy loss in aggregation.

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