OptStream: Releasing Time Series Privately

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Many applications of machine learning and optimization operate on data streams. While these datasets are fundamental to fuel decision-making algorithms, often they contain sensitive information about individuals, and their usage poses significant privacy risks. Motivated by an application in energy systems, this paper presents OptStream, a novel algorithm for releasing differentially private data streams under the w-event model of privacy. OptStream is a 4-step procedure consisting of sampling, perturbation, reconstruction, and post-processing modules. First, the sampling module selects a small set of points to access in each period of interest. Then, the perturbation module adds noise to the sampled data points to guarantee privacy. Next, the reconstruction module re-assembles non-sampled data points from the perturbed sample points. Finally, the post-processing module uses convex optimization over the privacy-preserving output of the previous modules, as well as the privacy-preserving answers of additional queries on the data stream, to improve accuracy by redistributing the added noise. OptStream is evaluated on a test case involving the release of a real data stream from the largest European transmission operator. Experimental results show that OptStream may not only improve the accuracy of state-of-the-art methods by at least one order of magnitude but also supports accurate load forecasting on the privacy-preserving data.

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