Improving k-anonymity based privacy preservation for collaborative filtering

Ruoxuan Wei, Hui Tian, Hong Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Collaborative Filtering (CF) is applied in recommender systems to predict users’ preference through filtering the information or patterns. Privacy Preserving Collaborative Filtering (PPCF) aims to achieve privacy protection in the recommendation process, which has an increasing significance in recommender systems and thus attracted much interests in recent years. Existing PPCF methods are mainly based on cryptography, obfuscation, perturbation and differential privacy. They have high computational cost, low data quality and difficulties in calibrating the magnitude of noise. This paper proposes a (p, l, α)-diversity method that improves the existing k-anonymity method in PPCF, where p is attacker's prior knowledge about users’ ratings and (l, α) is the diversity among users in each group to improve the level of privacy preserving. To achieve (l, α)-diversity, users in each equivalence class shall come from at least l (l < k) clusters in α clustering results. Therefore, we firstly apply Latent Factor Model (LFM) to reduce matrix sparsity. Then we propose an improved Maximum Distance to Average Vector (MDAV) microaggregation algorithm based on importance partitioning to increase the homogeneity among the records in each group which can retain better data quality in (p, l, α)-diversity model. Finally, we apply t-closeness in PPCF. Theoretical analysis and experimental results demonstrate our approach assures a higher level of privacy preserving and less information loss than existing methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-519
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Electrical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Anonymity
  • Collaborative filtering
  • Privacy preserving
  • Recommender system


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