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Towards Effective Paraphrasing for Information Disguise

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Advances in Information Retrieval (ECIR 2023)

Abstract

Information Disguise (ID), a part of computational ethics in Natural Language Processing (NLP), is concerned with best practices of textual paraphrasing to prevent the non-consensual use of authors’ posts on the Internet. Research on ID becomes important when authors’ written online communication pertains to sensitive domains, e.g., mental health. Over time, researchers have utilized AI-based automated word spinners (e.g., SpinRewriter, WordAI) for paraphrasing content. However, these tools fail to satisfy the purpose of ID as their paraphrased content still leads to the source when queried on search engines. There is limited prior work on judging the effectiveness of paraphrasing methods for ID on search engines or their proxies, neural retriever (NeurIR) models. We propose a framework where, for a given sentence from an author’s post, we perform iterative perturbation on the sentence in the direction of paraphrasing with an attempt to confuse the search mechanism of a NeurIR system when the sentence is queried on it. Our experiments involve the subreddit “r/AmItheAsshole” as the source of public content and Dense Passage Retriever as a NeurIR system-based proxy for search engines. Our work introduces a novel method of phrase-importance rankings using perplexity scores and involves multi-level phrase substitutions via beam search. Our multi-phrase substitution scheme succeeds in disguising sentences 82% of the time and hence takes an essential step towards enabling researchers to disguise sensitive content effectively before making it public. We also release the code of our approach. (https://github.com/idecir/idecir-Towards-Effective-Paraphrasing-for-Information-Disguise)

A. Agarwal and S. Gupta—Authors contributed equally.

M Gaur—Research with KAI\(^2\) Lab @ UMBC.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A source document has high locatability if a system engine retrieves it in the top-K results when queried with one of the sentences within the document.

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Correspondence to Anmol Agarwal .

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Agarwal, A., Gupta, S., Bonagiri, V., Gaur, M., Reagle, J., Kumaraguru, P. (2023). Towards Effective Paraphrasing for Information Disguise. In: Kamps, J., et al. Advances in Information Retrieval. ECIR 2023. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 13981. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-28238-6_22

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-28238-6_22

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