Differentially Private Histograms under Continual Observation: Streaming Selection into the Unknown

Adrian Rivera Cardoso, Ryan Rogers

We generalize the continuous observation privacy setting from Dwork et al. '10 and Chan et al. '11 by allowing each event in a stream to be a subset of some (possibly unknown) universe of items. We design differentially private (DP) algorithms for histograms in several settings, including top-$k$ selection, with privacy loss that scales with polylog$(T)$, where $T$ is the maximum length of the input stream. We present a meta-algorithm that can use existing one-shot top-$k$ DP algorithms as a subroutine to continuously release private histograms from a stream. Further, we present more practical DP algorithms for two settings: 1) continuously releasing the top-$k$ counts from a histogram over a known domain when an event can consist of an arbitrary number of items, and 2) continuously releasing histograms over an unknown domain when an event has a limited number of items.

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