Visible to the public The Value of Privacy: Strategic Data Subjects, Incentive Mechanisms and Fundamental Limits

TitleThe Value of Privacy: Strategic Data Subjects, Incentive Mechanisms and Fundamental Limits
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsWang, Weina, Ying, Lei, Zhang, Junshan
Conference NameProceedings of the 2016 ACM SIGMETRICS International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Science
Conference LocationNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number978-1-4503-4266-7
KeywordsComputing Theory, Differential privacy, game theoretic security, game theory, Human Behavior, incentive mechanism, Measurement, mechanism design, Metrics, privacy, privacy models, privacy models and measurement, pubcrawl, Resiliency, Scalability, strategic data subjects

We study the value of data privacy in a game-theoretic model of trading private data, where a data collector purchases private data from strategic data subjects (individuals) through an incentive mechanism. The private data of each individual represents her knowledge about an underlying state, which is the information that the data collector desires to learn. Different from most of the existing work on privacy-aware surveys, our model does not assume the data collector to be trustworthy. Then, an individual takes full control of its own data privacy and reports only a privacy-preserving version of her data. In this paper, the value of e units of privacy is measured by the minimum payment of all nonnegative payment mechanisms, under which an individual's best response at a Nash equilibrium is to report the data with a privacy level of e. The higher e is, the less private the reported data is. We derive lower and upper bounds on the value of privacy which are asymptotically tight as the number of data subjects becomes large. Specifically, the lower bound assures that it is impossible to use less amount of payment to buy e units of privacy, and the upper bound is given by an achievable payment mechanism that we designed. Based on these fundamental limits, we further derive lower and upper bounds on the minimum total payment for the data collector to achieve a given learning accuracy target, and show that the total payment of the designed mechanism is at most one individual's payment away from the minimum.

Citation Keywang_value_2016