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Certified Data Removal from Machine Learning Models

Chuan Guo · Tom Goldstein · Awni Hannun · Laurens van der Maaten

Keywords: [ Privacy-preserving Statistics and Machine Learning ]


Good data stewardship requires removal of data at the request of the data's owner. This raises the question if and how a trained machine-learning model, which implicitly stores information about its training data, should be affected by such a removal request. Is it possible to ``remove'' data from a machine-learning model? We study this problem by defining certified removal: a very strong theoretical guarantee that a model from which data is removed cannot be distinguished from a model that never observed the data to begin with. We develop a certified-removal mechanism for linear classifiers and empirically study learning settings in which this mechanism is practical.

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