On the Tradeoff Between Privacy and Utility in Data Publishing

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Executive Summary

In data publishing, anonymization techniques such as generalization and bucketization have been designed to provide privacy protection. In the meanwhile, they reduce the utility of the data. It is important to consider the tradeoff between privacy and utility. In a paper that appeared in KDD 2008, Brickell and Shmatikov proposed an evaluation methodology by comparing privacy gain with utility gain resulted from anonymizing the data, and concluded that "Even modest privacy gains require almost complete destruction of the data-mining utility". This conclusion seems to undermine existing work on data anonymization.

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