Data Centric Defenses for Privacy Attacks
Recent research shows that machine learning algorithms are highly susceptible to attacks trying to extract sensitive information about the data used in model training. These attacks called privacy attacks, exploit the model training process. Contemporary defense techniques make alterations to the training algorithm. Such defenses are computationally expensive, cause a noticeable privacy-utility tradeoff, and require control over the training process. This thesis presents a data-centric approach using data augmentations to mitigate privacy attacks. We present privacy-focused data augmentations to change the sensitive data submitted to the model trainer. Compared to traditional defenses, our method provides more control to the individual data owner to protect one's private data. The defense is model-agnostic and does not require the data owner to have any sort of control over the model training. Privacypreserving augmentations are implemented for two attacks namely membership inference and model inversion using two distinct techniques. While the proposed augmentations offer a better privacy-utility tradeoff on CIFAR-10 for membership inference, they reduce the reconstruction rate to ≤ 1% while reducing the classification accuracy by only 2% against model inversion attacks. This is the first attempt to defend model inversion and membership inference attacks using decentralized privacy protection.