Machine Learning Meets Data Modification

The Potential of Pre-processing for Privacy Enchancement

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We explore how data modification can enhance privacy by examining the connection between data modification and machine learning. Specifically, machine learning “meets” data modification in two ways. First, data modification can protect the data that is used to train machine learning models focusing it on the intended use and inhibiting unwanted inference. Second, machine learning can provide new ways of creating modified data. In this chapter, we discuss data modification approaches, applied during data pre-processing, that are suited for online data sharing scenarios. Specifically, we define two scenarios “User data sharing” and “Data set sharing” and describe the threat models associated with each scenario and related privacy threats. We then survey the landscape of privacy-enhancing data modification techniques that can be used to counter these threats. The picture that emerges is that data modification approaches hold promise to enhance privacy, and can be used alongside of conventional cryptographic approaches. We close with an outlook on future directions focusing on new types of data, the relationship among privacy, and the importance of taking an interdisciplinary approach to data modification for privacy enhancement.