“I know everything.” Inspector Clouseau once stated to a roomful of suspects. “And I know nothing.”
The great French detective may seem an unlikely inspiration for the world’s largest tech company, but Apple claims to have found a solution to the anomaly of gathering information about its client base without compromising their privacy. The answer, according to Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, is “Differential Privacy”.
This innovation aims to keep each individual user’s private information indeed private, whilst still gathering ever more data on users as a whole. Essentially, it allows Apple to gain ever-increasing insights from large datasets through statistical mathematics, using mathematical proofs to gather, disseminate and interpret data whilst keeping individuals’ private information just that – private. It’s a complex science involving crowdsourcing and ever more refined algorithms, and the full article makes for an especially interesting read for the mathematically inclined.