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Forget Unlearning: Towards True Data-Deletion in Machine Learning

Rishav Chourasia · Neil Shah

Exhibit Hall 1 #710
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Unlearning algorithms aim to remove deleted data's influence from trained models at a cost lower than full retraining. However, prior guarantees of unlearning in literature are flawed and don't protect the privacy of deleted records. We show that when people delete their data as a function of published models, records in a database become interdependent. So, even retraining a fresh model after deletion of a record doesn't ensure its privacy. Secondly, unlearning algorithms that cache partial computations to speed up the processing can leak deleted information over a series of releases, violating the privacy of deleted records in the long run. To address these, we propose a sound deletion guarantee and show that ensuring the privacy of existing records is necessary for the privacy of deleted records. Under this notion, we propose an optimal, computationally efficient, and sound machine unlearning algorithm based on noisy gradient descent.

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