Differential privacy in practice

Uber opens their differncial privacy project

Using personal data is not as such evil. In the case of a cab, we certainly want our driver to know where to pick us up, as well as we want to be sure to be invoiced on the correct journey. However, if we want the intermediary company that is supposed to just connect us with our driver, to have all the details is at least debatable.

Uber has a reputation of exploiting their customers’ data, even abusing it to an extent that might be regarded criminal when they threatened critical jounalists. But even without bad intention it might just be harmful to potentially let everyone always know where your customers are.

Thus it makes perfect sense for companies like Uber to develop a framework for differential privacy – to make the data somewhat available but by using stochatics to blurr it making it very unlikely that individual people could be singled out.

That Uber opens their project for differential privacy is great example how to see protecting your customers not as a necessary evil, but to use data privacy as a public proof that you actually listen, learn, and act. It is a nice way of rebuilding trust.

Read Uber’s blog post:


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