Covering the Sensitive Subjects to Protect Personal Privacy in Personalized Recommendation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
IEEE Transactions on Services Computing, 2018, 11 (3), pp. 493 - 506
Issue Date:
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© 2008-2012 IEEE. Personalized recommendation has demonstrated its effectiveness in improving the problem of information overload on the Internet. However, evidences show that due to the concerns of personal privacy, users' reluctance to disclose their personal information has become a major barrier for the development of personalized recommendation. In this paper, we propose to generate a group of fake preference profiles, so as to cover up the user sensitive subjects, and thus protect user personal privacy in personalized recommendation. First, we present a client-based framework for user privacy protection, which requires not only no change to existing recommendation algorithms, but also no compromise to the recommendation accuracy. Second, based on the framework, we introduce a privacy protection model, which formulates the two requirements that ideal fake preference profiles should satisfy: (1) the similarity of feature distribution, which measures the effectiveness of fake preference profiles to hide a genuine user preference profile; and (2) the exposure degree of sensitive subjects, which measures the effectiveness of fake preference profiles to cover up the sensitive subjects. Finally, based on a subject repository of product classification, we present an implementation algorithm to well meet the privacy protection model. Both theoretical analysis and experimental evaluation demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach.
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