Machine learning models based on neural networks and deep learning are being rapidly adopted for many purposes. What those models learn, and what they may share, is a significant concern when the training data may contain secrets and the models are public -- e.g., when a model helps users compose text messages using models trained on all users' messages. This paper presents exposure: a simple-to-compute metric that can be applied to any deep learning model for measuring the memorization of secrets. Using this metric, we show how to extract those secrets efficiently using black-box API access. Further, we show that unintended memorization occurs early, is not due to over-fitting, and is a persistent issue across different types of models, hyperparameters, and training strategies. We experiment with both real-world models (e.g., a state-of-the-art translation model) and datasets (e.g., the Enron email dataset, which contains users' credit card numbers) to demonstrate both the utility of measuring exposure and the ability to extract secrets. Finally, we consider many defenses, finding some ineffective (like regularization), and others to lack guarantees. However, by instantiating our own differentially-private recurrent model, we validate that by appropriately investing in the use of state-of-the-art techniques, the problem can be resolved, with high utility.
Today, we're excited to announce TensorFlow Privacy (GitHub), an open source library that makes it easier not only for developers to train machine-learning models with privacy, but also for researchers to advance the state of the art in machine learning with strong privacy guarantees. Modern machine learning is increasingly applied to create amazing new technologies and user experiences, many of which involve training machines to learn responsibly from sensitive data, such as personal photos or email. Ideally, the parameters of trained machine-learning models should encode general patterns rather than facts about specific training examples. To ensure this, and to give strong privacy guarantees when the training data is sensitive, it is possible to use techniques based on the theory of differential privacy. In particular, when training on users' data, those techniques offer strong mathematical guarantees that models do not learn or remember the details about any specific user.
Differentially private learning on real-world data poses challenges for standard machine learning practice: privacy guarantees are difficult to interpret, hyperparameter tuning on private data reduces the privacy budget, and ad-hoc privacy attacks are often required to test model privacy. We introduce three tools to make differentially private machine learning more practical: (1) simple sanity checks which can be carried out in a centralized manner before training, (2) an adaptive clipping bound to reduce the effective number of tuneable privacy parameters, and (3) we show that large-batch training improves model performance.
We examine the role of memorization in deep learning, drawing connections to capacity, generalization, and adversarial robustness. While deep networks are capable of memorizing noise data, our results suggest that they tend to prioritize learning simple patterns first. In our experiments, we expose qualitative differences in gradient-based optimization of deep neural networks (DNNs) on noise vs. real data. We also demonstrate that for appropriately tuned explicit regularization (e.g., dropout) we can degrade DNN training performance on noise datasets without compromising generalization on real data. Our analysis suggests that the notions of effective capacity which are dataset independent are unlikely to explain the generalization performance of deep networks when trained with gradient based methods because training data itself plays an important role in determining the degree of memorization.