Most current approaches for protecting privacy in machine learning (ML) assume that models exist in a vacuum, when in reality, ML models are part of larger systems that include components for training data filtering, output monitoring, and more. In this work, we introduce privacy side channels: attacks that exploit these system-level components to extract private information at far higher rates than is otherwise possible for standalone models. We propose four categories of side channels that span the entire ML lifecycle (training data filtering, input preprocessing, output post-processing, and query filtering) and allow for either enhanced membership inference attacks or even novel threats such as extracting users' test queries. For example, we show that deduplicating training data before applying differentially-private training creates a side-channel that completely invalidates any provable privacy guarantees. Moreover, we show that systems which block language models from regenerating training data can be exploited to allow exact reconstruction of private keys contained in the training set -- even if the model did not memorize these keys. Taken together, our results demonstrate the need for a holistic, end-to-end privacy analysis of machine learning.
Large language models are now tuned to align with the goals of their creators, namely to be "helpful and harmless." These models should respond helpfully to user questions, but refuse to answer requests that could cause harm. However, adversarial users can construct inputs which circumvent attempts at alignment. In this work, we study to what extent these models remain aligned, even when interacting with an adversarial user who constructs worst-case inputs (adversarial examples). These inputs are designed to cause the model to emit harmful content that would otherwise be prohibited. We show that existing NLP-based optimization attacks are insufficiently powerful to reliably attack aligned text models: even when current NLP-based attacks fail, we can find adversarial inputs with brute force. As a result, the failure of current attacks should not be seen as proof that aligned text models remain aligned under adversarial inputs. However the recent trend in large-scale ML models is multimodal models that allow users to provide images that influence the text that is generated. We show these models can be easily attacked, i.e., induced to perform arbitrary un-aligned behavior through adversarial perturbation of the input image. We conjecture that improved NLP attacks may demonstrate this same level of adversarial control over text-only models.
Canary exposure, introduced in Carlini et al. is frequently used to empirically evaluate, or audit, the privacy of machine learning model training. The goal of this note is to provide some intuition on how to interpret canary exposure, including by relating it to membership inference attacks and differential privacy.
We introduce PaLM 2, a new state-of-the-art language model that has better multilingual and reasoning capabilities and is more compute-efficient than its predecessor PaLM. PaLM 2 is a Transformer-based model trained using a mixture of objectives. Through extensive evaluations on English and multilingual language, and reasoning tasks, we demonstrate that PaLM 2 has significantly improved quality on downstream tasks across different model sizes, while simultaneously exhibiting faster and more efficient inference compared to PaLM. This improved efficiency enables broader deployment while also allowing the model to respond faster, for a more natural pace of interaction. PaLM 2 demonstrates robust reasoning capabilities exemplified by large improvements over PaLM on BIG-Bench and other reasoning tasks. PaLM 2 exhibits stable performance on a suite of responsible AI evaluations, and enables inference-time control over toxicity without additional overhead or impact on other capabilities. Overall, PaLM 2 achieves state-of-the-art performance across a diverse set of tasks and capabilities. When discussing the PaLM 2 family, it is important to distinguish between pre-trained models (of various sizes), fine-tuned variants of these models, and the user-facing products that use these models. In particular, user-facing products typically include additional pre- and post-processing steps. Additionally, the underlying models may evolve over time. Therefore, one should not expect the performance of user-facing products to exactly match the results reported in this report.
We propose a scheme for auditing differentially private machine learning systems with a single training run. This exploits the parallelism of being able to add or remove multiple training examples independently. We analyze this using the connection between differential privacy and statistical generalization, which avoids the cost of group privacy. Our auditing scheme requires minimal assumptions about the algorithm and can be applied in the black-box or white-box setting.
We propose a novel approach for developing privacy-preserving large-scale recommender systems using differentially private (DP) large language models (LLMs) which overcomes certain challenges and limitations in DP training these complex systems. Our method is particularly well suited for the emerging area of LLM-based recommender systems, but can be readily employed for any recommender systems that process representations of natural language inputs. Our approach involves using DP training methods to fine-tune a publicly pre-trained LLM on a query generation task. The resulting model can generate private synthetic queries representative of the original queries which can be freely shared for any downstream non-private recommendation training procedures without incurring any additional privacy cost. We evaluate our method on its ability to securely train effective deep retrieval models, and we observe significant improvements in their retrieval quality without compromising query-level privacy guarantees compared to methods where the retrieval models are directly DP trained.
Model distillation is frequently proposed as a technique to reduce the privacy leakage of machine learning. These empirical privacy defenses rely on the intuition that distilled ``student'' models protect the privacy of training data, as they only interact with this data indirectly through a ``teacher'' model. In this work, we design membership inference attacks to systematically study the privacy provided by knowledge distillation to both the teacher and student training sets. Our new attacks show that distillation alone provides only limited privacy across a number of domains. We explain the success of our attacks on distillation by showing that membership inference attacks on a private dataset can succeed even if the target model is *never* queried on any actual training points, but only on inputs whose predictions are highly influenced by training data. Finally, we show that our attacks are strongest when student and teacher sets are similar, or when the attacker can poison the teacher set.
It is becoming increasingly imperative to design robust ML defenses. However, recent work has found that many defenses that initially resist state-of-the-art attacks can be broken by an adaptive adversary. In this work we take steps to simplify the design of defenses and argue that white-box defenses should eschew randomness when possible. We begin by illustrating a new issue with the deployment of randomized defenses that reduces their security compared to their deterministic counterparts. We then provide evidence that making defenses deterministic simplifies robustness evaluation, without reducing the effectiveness of a truly robust defense. Finally, we introduce a new defense evaluation framework that leverages a defense's deterministic nature to better evaluate its adversarial robustness.
Deep learning models are often trained on distributed, webscale datasets crawled from the internet. In this paper, we introduce two new dataset poisoning attacks that intentionally introduce malicious examples to a model's performance. Our attacks are immediately practical and could, today, poison 10 popular datasets. Our first attack, split-view poisoning, exploits the mutable nature of internet content to ensure a dataset annotator's initial view of the dataset differs from the view downloaded by subsequent clients. By exploiting specific invalid trust assumptions, we show how we could have poisoned 0.01% of the LAION-400M or COYO-700M datasets for just $60 USD. Our second attack, frontrunning poisoning, targets web-scale datasets that periodically snapshot crowd-sourced content -- such as Wikipedia -- where an attacker only needs a time-limited window to inject malicious examples. In light of both attacks, we notify the maintainers of each affected dataset and recommended several low-overhead defenses.
Auditing mechanisms for differential privacy use probabilistic means to empirically estimate the privacy level of an algorithm. For private machine learning, existing auditing mechanisms are tight: the empirical privacy estimate (nearly) matches the algorithm's provable privacy guarantee. But these auditing techniques suffer from two limitations. First, they only give tight estimates under implausible worst-case assumptions (e.g., a fully adversarial dataset). Second, they require thousands or millions of training runs to produce non-trivial statistical estimates of the privacy leakage. This work addresses both issues. We design an improved auditing scheme that yields tight privacy estimates for natural (not adversarially crafted) datasets -- if the adversary can see all model updates during training. Prior auditing works rely on the same assumption, which is permitted under the standard differential privacy threat model. This threat model is also applicable, e.g., in federated learning settings. Moreover, our auditing scheme requires only two training runs (instead of thousands) to produce tight privacy estimates, by adapting recent advances in tight composition theorems for differential privacy. We demonstrate the utility of our improved auditing schemes by surfacing implementation bugs in private machine learning code that eluded prior auditing techniques.