ComNum - Seminars

January,31 2019 Séminaire général Comelec: "An information theoretic perspective on web privacy"

Seminar Author(s):

Elza ERKIP (New York University Tandon School of Engineering)

Seminar description:

Amphi OPALE, 14H, Télécom ParisTech, 46 rue barrault, Paris 13

When we browse the internet, we expect that our social network identities and web activities will remain private. Unfortunately, in reality, users are constantly tracked on the internet. As web tracking technologies become more sophisticated and pervasive, there is a critical need to understand and quantify web users' privacy risk. In other words, what is the likelihood that users on the internet can be uniquely identified from their online activities?

This talk provides an information theoretic perspective on web privacy by considering two main classes of privacy attacks based on the information they extract about a user. (i) Attributes capture the user's activities on the web and could include its browsing history or its memberships in groups. Attacks that exploit the attributes are called “fingerprinting attacks,” and usually include an active query stage by the attacker. (ii) Relationships capture the user's interactions with other users on the web such as its friendship relations on a certain social network. Attacks that exploit the relationships are called “social network de-anonymization attacks.” For each class, we show how information theoretic tools can be used to design and analyze privacy attacks and to provide explicit characterization of the associated privacy risks.


Wigger Michele

January,24 2019 [ComNum PhD's seminar] About the Entropic uncertainty principle

Seminar Author(s):

Asgari Fatemeh

Seminar description:

in A301 at 1pm


The entropy power inequality (EPI), first introduced by Shannon (1948), states that the entropy power of sum of two independent random variables X and Y is not less than the sum of the entropy powers of X and Y.  It finds many applications and has received several proofs and generalizations, in particular for dependent variables X and Y. We propose new conditions under which the EPI holds for dependent summands and discuss the implications of this result. This is a joint work with Mohammad Hossein Alamatsaz.

The well-known uncertainty principle used in physics in based on Kennard-Weyl's inequality (1928) and was strengthened in terms of Shannon's entropy, leading to the entropic uncertainty principle (EUP). The EUP was conjectured by Hirschman (1957) and finally proved by Beckner (1975) based on Babenko's inequality with optimal constants. Beckner's proof of Babenko's inequality is extremely difficult and the resulting derivation of the EUP is indirect (via Renyi entropies). A simple proof was recently published in Annals of Physics (2015) which turns out to be very questionable. We give a simple proof of a weaker, "local" EUP using the Hermite decomposition. This is a joint work with Olivier Rioul.


Ciblat Philippe

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