Improving Differentially Private Models with Active Learning

Zhengli Zhao
Nicolas Papernot
Sameer Singh
Neoklis Polyzotis
Augustus Odena
arXiv preprint arXiv:1910.01177(2019)

Abstract

Broad adoption of machine learning techniques has increased privacy concerns for models trained on sensitive data such as medical records. Existing techniques for training differentially private (DP) models give rigorous privacy guarantees, but applying these techniques to neural networks can severely degrade model performance. This performance reduction is an obstacle to deploying private models in the real world. In this work, we improve the performance of DP models by fine-tuning them through active learning on public data. We introduce two new techniques - DIVERSEPUBLIC and NEARPRIVATE - for doing this fine-tuning in a privacy-aware way. For the MNIST and SVHN datasets, these techniques improve state-of-the-art accuracy for DP models while retaining privacy guarantees.