[Resource Topic] 2023/900: What If Alice Wants Her Story Told?

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What If Alice Wants Her Story Told?

Authors: Anindya Bhandari, Allison Bishop


In this paper, we pose the problem of defining technical privacy guarantees for anonymizing stories. This is a challenge that arises in practice in contexts like journalism and memoir writing, and can be crucial in determining whether a story gets told and how effectively it is presented. While recent decades have seen leaps and bounds in the development of approaches like differential privacy for numerical and categorical data sets, none of these techniques are directly applicable to settings where narrative structure is crucial to preserve. Here we begin an exploration of what kind of definitions could be achievable in such settings, and discuss the building blocks and interdisciplinary collaborations that could shape new solutions. Having scientific guarantees for anonymity in narrative forms could have far-reaching effects - in the peace of mind of potential tellers and subjects of stories, as well as in the legal sphere. This could ultimately expand the kinds of stories that can be told.

ePrint: https://eprint.iacr.org/2023/900

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