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16 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. L. 701 (2013-2014)
Fool's Gold: An Illustrated Critique of Differential Privacy

handle is hein.journals/vanep16 and id is 733 raw text is: VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF
ENTERTAINMENT & TECHNOLOGY LAW
VOLUME 16                    SUMMER 2014                      NUMBER 4
Fool's Gold:
An Illustrated Critique of Differential
Privacy
Jane Bambauer,* Krishnamurty Muralidhar,**
and Rathindra Sarathy***
ABSTRACT
Differential privacy has taken the privacy community by storm.
Computer scientists developed this technique to allow researchers to
submit queries to databases without being able to glean sensitive
information about the individuals described in the data.         Legal
scholars champion differential privacy as a practical solution to the
competing interests in research and confidentiality, and policymakers
are poised to adopt it as the gold standard for data privacy. It would
be a disastrous mistake.
This Article provides an illustrated guide to the virtues and
pitfalls of differential privacy. While the technique is suitable for a
narrow set of research uses, the great majority of analyses would
produce results that are beyond absurd-average income in the
negative millions or correlations well above 1.0, for example.
The legal community mistakenly believes that differential
privacy can offer the benefits of data research without sacrificing
privacy. In fact, differential privacy will usually produce either very
wrong    research  results  or   very   useless  privacy  protections.
Policymakers and data stewards will have to rely on a mix of
*     Associate Professor of Law, University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law;
J.D., Yale Law School; B.S., Yale College.
**    Gatton Research Professor, University of Kentucky, Gatton College of Business &
Economics; Ph.D., Texas A&M University; M.B.A., Sam Houston State University; B.Sc.
University of Madras, India.
***   Ardmore Chair, Oklahoma State University, Spears School of Business; Ph.D., Texas
A&M University; B.E., University of Madras, India.
701

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