Privately Evaluating Decision Trees and Random Forests

David J. Wu, Tony Feng, Michael Naehrig, and Kristin Lauter

Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, 2016 (4), 2016



Decision trees and random forests are common classifiers with widespread use. In this paper, we develop two protocols for privately evaluating decision trees and random forests. We operate in the standard two-party setting where the server holds a model (either a tree or a forest), and the client holds an input (a feature vector). At the conclusion of the protocol, the client learns only the model's output on its input and a few generic parameters concerning the model; the server learns nothing. The first protocol we develop provides security against semi-honest adversaries. We then give an extension of the semi-honest protocol that is robust against malicious adversaries. We implement both protocols and show that both variants are able to process trees with several hundred decision nodes in just a few seconds and a modest amount of bandwidth. Compared to previous semi-honest protocols for private decision tree evaluation, we demonstrate a tenfold improvement in computation and bandwidth.

  author  = {David J. Wu and Tony Feng and Michael Naehrig and Kristin Lauter},
  title   = {Privately Evaluating Decision Trees and Random Forests},
  journal = {Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies ({PoPETs})},
  volume  = {2016},
  number  = {4},
  pages   = {335--355},
  year    = {2016}