Renyi Differential Privacy of Propose-Test-Release and Applications to Private and Robust Machine Learning

Jiachen T. Wang, Saeed Mahloujifar, Shouda Wang, Ruoxi Jia, Prateek Mittal

Propose-Test-Release (PTR) is a differential privacy framework that works with local sensitivity of functions, instead of their global sensitivity. This framework is typically used for releasing robust statistics such as median or trimmed mean in a differentially private manner. While PTR is a common framework introduced over a decade ago, using it in applications such as robust SGD where we need many adaptive robust queries is challenging. This is mainly due to the lack of Renyi Differential Privacy (RDP) analysis, an essential ingredient underlying the moments accountant approach for differentially private deep learning. In this work, we generalize the standard PTR and derive the first RDP bound for it when the target function has bounded global sensitivity. We show that our RDP bound for PTR yields tighter DP guarantees than the directly analyzed $(\eps, \delta)$-DP. We also derive the algorithm-specific privacy amplification bound of PTR under subsampling. We show that our bound is much tighter than the general upper bound and close to the lower bound. Our RDP bounds enable tighter privacy loss calculation for the composition of many adaptive runs of PTR. As an application of our analysis, we show that PTR and our theoretical results can be used to design differentially private variants for byzantine robust training algorithms that use robust statistics for gradients aggregation. We conduct experiments on the settings of label, feature, and gradient corruption across different datasets and architectures. We show that PTR-based private and robust training algorithm significantly improves the utility compared with the baseline.

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