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  1. We introduce a new algorithm, Construction of dIfferentially Private Empirical Distributions from a low-order marginal set tHrough solving linear Equations with 𝑙2 Regularization (CIPHER), that produces differentially private empirical joint distributions from a set of low-order marginals. CIPHER is conceptually simple and requires no more than decomposing joint probabilities via basic probability rules to construct a linear equation set and subsequently solve the equations. Compared to the full-dimensional histogram (FDH) sanitization, CIPHER has drastically lower requirements on computational storage and memory, which is practically attractive especially considering that the high-order signals preserved by the FDH sanitization are likely just samplemore »randomness and rarely of interest. Our experiments demonstrate that CIPHER outperforms the multiplicative weighting exponential mechanism in preserving original information and has similar or superior cost-normalized utility to FDH sanitization at the same privacy budget.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 6, 2022
  2. Many social networks contain sensitive relational information. One approach to protect the sensitive relational information while offering flexibility for social network research and analysis is to release synthetic social networks at a pre-specified privacy risk level, given the original observed network. We propose the DP-ERGM procedure that synthesizes networks that satisfy the differential privacy (DP) via the exponential random graph model (EGRM). We apply DP-ERGM to a college student friendship network and compare its original network information preservation in the generated private networks with two other approaches: differentially private DyadWise Randomized Response (DWRR) and Sanitization of the Conditional probability ofmore »Edge given Attribute classes (SCEA). The results suggest that DP-EGRM preserves the original information significantly better than DWRR and SCEA in both network statistics and inferences from ERGMs and latent space models. In addition, DP-ERGM satisfies the node DP, a stronger notion of privacy than the edge DP that DWRR and SCEA satisfy.« less