Differential Privacy as a Causal Property

TitleDifferential Privacy as a Causal Property
Publication TypeTechnical Report
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsTschantz, M. Carl, Sen S., & Datta A.

We present associative and causal views of differential privacy. Under the associative view, the possibility of dependencies between data points precludes a simple statement of differential privacy's guarantee as conditioning upon a single changed data point. However, a simple characterization of differential privacy as limiting the effect of a single data point does exist under the causal view, without independence assumptions about data points. We believe this characterization resolves disagreement and confusion in prior work about the consequences of differential privacy. It also opens up the possibility of applying results from statistics, experimental design, and science about causation while studying differential privacy. 

ICSI Research Group

Networking and Security