Controlling privacy in recommender systems

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27 (NIPS 2014)

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Yu Xin, Tommi Jaakkola


Recommender systems involve an inherent trade-off between accuracy of recommendations and the extent to which users are willing to release information about their preferences. In this paper, we explore a two-tiered notion of privacy where there is a small set of public'' users who are willing to share their preferences openly, and a large set ofprivate'' users who require privacy guarantees. We show theoretically and demonstrate empirically that a moderate number of public users with no access to private user information already suffices for reasonable accuracy. Moreover, we introduce a new privacy concept for gleaning relational information from private users while maintaining a first order deniability. We demonstrate gains from controlled access to private user preferences.