It turns out people have researched how to do algorithmic recommendations without users having to reveal their personal preferences, and I am intrigued. Apparently, in principle we could have the good parts of, say, Netflix suggesting more things you might want to watch, without exposing ourselves to entities like Facebook selling all our data.

See "Distributed Differential Privacy and Applications" by Narayan, for example. (Also that's the first CC-BY licensed PhD thesis I've seen!)

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@jamey I know we can all [favorite-search-engine-as-a-verb] the thing, but this is the one you are referring to, correct? repository.upenn.edu/edisserta

@cstanhope Yup, that's the one! I haven't really gotten past its related-work section yet because I got sidetracked by reading one of the papers it references, so it's also good as a bit of a survey paper.

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