We present πBox, a new application platform that addresses an increasingly common problem: the misappropriation of user information by apps resulting in privacy violations. To strike a useful balance between an app’s need to access user data and users ’ desire to protect their private information, πBox shifts much of the responsibility for protecting user privacy from the app and its users to the platform. πBox achieves this by using (1) a sandbox that spans both a user’s device and the cloud, (2) specialized storage and communication channels that enable necessary app functionalities, and (3) a novel adaptation of recent theoretical algorithms for differential privacy under continual observation. We describe a prototype implementation of πBox and show that it enables a wide range of useful apps with minimal performance overhead and without sacrificing user privacy.
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