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Department of Computer Science Seminar
2016 Series

On Information-theoretic Measures for Quantifying Privacy Protection of Time-series

Dr. Chris Ma
Technical Specialist

Date: February 19, 2016 (Friday)
Time: 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Venue: SCT716, Cha Chi Ming Science Tower, Ho Sin Hang Campus

Privacy protection of time-series data, such as traces of household electricity usage reported by smart meters, is of much practical importance. Solutions are available to improve data privacy by perturbing clear traces to produce noisy versions visible to adversaries, e.g., in battery-based load hiding against non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM). A foundational task for research progress in the area is the definition of privacy measures that can truly evaluate the effectiveness of proposed protection methods. It is a difficult problem since resilience against any attack algorithms known to the designer is inconclusive, given that adversaries could discover or indeed already know stronger algorithms for attacks. A more basic measure is information-theoretic in nature, which quantifies the inherent information available for exploitation by an adversary, independent of how the adversary exploits it or indeed any assumed computational limitations of the adversary. In this talk, we analyze information-theoretic measures for privacy protection and apply them to several existing protection methods against NILM. We argue that although these measures abstract away the details of attacks, the kind of information the adversary considers plays a key role in the evaluation, and that a new measure of offline conditional entropy is better suited for evaluating the privacy of perturbed real-world time-series data, compared with other existing measures.

Chris Y. T. Ma received his B.Eng. in Computer Engineering from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2004; M.Phil. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2006; and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA in 2010. He was a recipient of Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship and a Purdue Summer Research Grant. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Illinois at Singapore, for four years. He currently works in the industry on topics related to encryption-based data-protection. His research interests include performance and security study of wireless networks, mobile sensor networks, smart grids, and other cyber-physical systems.

********* ALL INTERESTED ARE WELCOME ***********
(For enquiry, please contact Computer Science Department at 3411 2385)
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