Assessing Differentially Private Variational Autoencoders under Membership Inference

16 Apr 2022  ·  Daniel Bernau, Jonas Robl, Florian Kerschbaum ·

We present an approach to quantify and compare the privacy-accuracy trade-off for differentially private Variational Autoencoders. Our work complements previous work in two aspects. First, we evaluate the the strong reconstruction MI attack against Variational Autoencoders under differential privacy. Second, we address the data scientist's challenge of setting privacy parameter epsilon, which steers the differential privacy strength and thus also the privacy-accuracy trade-off. In our experimental study we consider image and time series data, and three local and central differential privacy mechanisms. We find that the privacy-accuracy trade-offs strongly depend on the dataset and model architecture. We do rarely observe favorable privacy-accuracy trade-off for Variational Autoencoders, and identify a case where LDP outperforms CDP.

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