New Threats to Privacy-preserving Text Representations

Date
2022-01-04
Authors
Zhan, Huixin
Zhang, Kun
Hu, Chenyi
Sheng, Victor
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Abstract
The users’ privacy concerns mandate data publishers to protect privacy by anonymizing the data before sharing it with data consumers. Thus, the ultimate goal of privacy-preserving representation learning is to protect user privacy while ensuring the utility, e.g., the accuracy of the published data, for future tasks and usages. Privacy-preserving embeddings are usually functions that are encoded to low-dimensional vectors to protect privacy while preserving important semantic information about an input text. We demonstrate that these embeddings still leak private information, even though the low dimensional embeddings encode generic semantics. We develop two classes of attacks, i.e., adversarial classification attack and adversarial generation attack, to study the threats for these embeddings. In particular, the threats are (1) these embeddings may reveal sensitive attributes letting alone if they explicitly exist in the input text, and (2) the embedding vectors can be partially recovered via generation models. Besides, our experimental results show that our approach can produce higher-performing adversary models than other adversary baselines.
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Text Analytics, privacy, text, text embeddings, threats
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