Apple's Differential Privacy
At the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this week, Apple talked about something called “differential privacy.” We know very little about the details, but it seems to be an anonymization technique designed to collect user data without revealing personal information.
What we know about anonymization is that it’s much harder than people think, and it’s likely that this technique will be full of privacy vulnerabilities. (See, for example, the excellent work of Latanya Sweeney.) As expected, security experts are skeptical. Here’s Matt Green trying to figure it out.
So while I applaud Apple for trying to improve privacy within its business models, I would like some more transparency and some more public scrutiny.
EDITED TO ADD (6/17): Here’s a slide deck on privacy from the WWDC.