June 21, 2021


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Differential Privacy for Text Analytics via Natural Text Sanitization. (arXiv:2106.01221v1 [cs.CL])

Texts convey sophisticated knowledge. However, texts also convey sensitive
information. Despite the success of general-purpose language models and
domain-specific mechanisms with differential privacy (DP), existing text
sanitization mechanisms still provide low utility, as cursed by the
high-dimensional text representation. The companion issue of utilizing
sanitized texts for downstream analytics is also under-explored. This paper
takes a direct approach to text sanitization. Our insight is to consider both
sensitivity and similarity via our new local DP notion. The sanitized texts
also contribute to our sanitization-aware pretraining and fine-tuning, enabling
privacy-preserving natural language processing over the BERT language model
with promising utility. Surprisingly, the high utility does not boost up the
success rate of inference attacks.