Theory of Cryptography

Volume 7785 of the series Lecture Notes in Computer Science pp 457-476

Analyzing Graphs with Node Differential Privacy

  • Shiva Prasad KasiviswanathanAffiliated withGeneral Electric Global Research
  • , Kobbi NissimAffiliated withBen-Gurion University
  • , Sofya RaskhodnikovaAffiliated withPennsylvania State University
  • , Adam SmithAffiliated withPennsylvania State University

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


We develop algorithms for the private analysis of network data that provide accurate analysis of realistic networks while satisfying stronger privacy guarantees than those of previous work. We present several techniques for designing node differentially private algorithms, that is, algorithms whose output distribution does not change significantly when a node and all its adjacent edges are added to a graph. We also develop methodology for analyzing the accuracy of such algorithms on realistic networks.

The main idea behind our techniques is to “project” (in one of several senses) the input graph onto the set of graphs with maximum degree below a certain threshold. We design projection operators, tailored to specific statistics that have low sensitivity and preserve information about the original statistic. These operators can be viewed as giving a fractional (low-degree) graph that is a solution to an optimization problem described as a maximum flow instance, linear program, or convex program. In addition, we derive a generic, efficient reduction that allows us to apply any differentially private algorithm for bounded-degree graphs to an arbitrary graph. This reduction is based on analyzing the smooth sensitivity of the “naive” truncation that simply discards nodes of high degree.