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CLOSENESS: A NEW PRIVACY MEASURE FOR DATA PUBLISHING

The k-anonymity privacy requirement for publishing microdata requires that each equivalence class (i.e., a set of records that are indistinguishable from each other with respect to certain “identifying” attributes) contains at least k records. Recently, several authors have recognized that k-anonymity cannot prevent attribute disclosure. The notion of `-diversity has been proposed to address this; `-diversity requires that each equivalence class has at least ` well-represented (in Section 2) values for each sensitive attribute. In this article, we show that `-diversity has a number of limitations. In particular, it is neither necessary nor sufficient to prevent attribute disclosure. Motivated by these limitations, we propose a new notion of privacy called “closeness”. We first present the base model t-closeness, which requires that the distribution of a sensitive attribute in any equivalence class is close to the distribution of the attribute in the overall table (i.e., the distance between the two distributions should be no more than a threshold t). We then propose a more flexible privacy model called (n, t)-closeness that offers higher utility. We describe our desiderata for designing a distance measure between two probability distributions and present two distance measures. We discuss the rationale for using closeness as a privacy measure and illustrate its advantages through examples and experiments



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