A Privacy-Preserving Framework for Large-Scale Content-Based Information Retrieval

A Privacy-Preserving Framework for Large-Scale Content-Based Information Retrieval We propose a privacy protection framework for large-scale content-based information retrieval. It offers two layers of protection. First, robust hash values are used as queries to prevent revealing original content or features. Second, the client can choose to omit certain bits in a hash value to further increase the ambiguity for the server. Due to the reduced information, it is computationally difficult for the server to know the client’s interest. The server has to return the hash values of all possible candidates to the client. The client performs a search within the candidate list to find the best match. Since only hash values are exchanged between the client and the server, the privacy of both parties is protected. We introduce the concept oftunable privacy, where the privacy protection level can be adjusted according to a policy. It is realized through hash-based piecewise inverted indexing. The idea is to divide a feature vector into pieces and index each piece with a subhash value. Each subhash value is associated with an inverted index list. The framework has been extensively tested using a large image database. We have evaluated both retrieval performance and privacy-preserving performance for a particular content identification application. Two different constructions of robust hash algorithms are used. One is based on random projections; the other is based on the discrete wavelet transform. Both algorithms exhibit satisfactory performance in comparison with state-of-the-art retrieval schemes. The results show that the privacy enhancement slightly improves the retrieval performance. We consider the majority voting attack for estimating the query category and identification. Experiment results show that this attack is a threat when there are near-duplicates, but the success rate decreases with the number of omitted bits and the number of distinct items.