New White Paper Explores Privacy and Security Risk to Machine Learning Systems


FPF and Immuta Examine Approaches That Can Limit Informational or Behavioral Harms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 20, 2019The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) released a white paper, WARNING SIGNS: The Future of Privacy and Security in an Age of Machine Learning, exploring how machine learning systems can be exposed to new privacy and security risks, and explaining approaches to data protection.

“Machine learning is a powerful tool with many benefits for society,” said Brenda Leong, FPF Senior Counsel & Director, Artificial Intelligence and Ethics. “Its use will continue to grow, so it is important to explain the steps creators can take to limit the risk that data could be compromised or a system manipulated.”

The white paper presents a layered approach to data protection in machine learning, including recommending techniques such as noise injection, inserting intermediaries between training data and the model, making machine learning mechanisms transparent, access controls, monitoring, documentation, testing, and debugging.

“Privacy or security harms in machine learning do not necessarily require direct access to underlying data or source code,” said Andrew Burt, Immuta Chief Privacy Officer and Legal Engineer. “We explore how creators of any machine learning system can limit the risk of unintended leakage of data or unauthorized manipulation.”

Co-authors of the paper are Leong, Burt, Sophie Stalla-Bourdillon, Immuta Senior Privacy Counsel and Legal Engineer, and Patrick Hall, Senior Director for Data Science Products.

The white paper released today builds on the analysis in Beyond Explainability: A Practical Guide to Managing Risk in Machine Learning Models, released by FPF and Immuta in June 2018.

Leong and Burt will discuss the findings of the WARNING SIGNS whitepaper at the Strata Data Conference in New York City during the “War Stories from the Front Lines of ML” panel at 1:15 p.m. on September 25, 2019, and the “Regulations and the Future of Data” panel at 2:05 p.m. on the same day.


Media Contacts:

Tony Baker
Future of Privacy Forum
[email protected]

Hadley Weinzierl
[email protected]

About the Future of Privacy Forum
Future of Privacy Forum is a global non-profit organization that serves as a catalyst for privacy leadership and scholarship, advancing principled data practices in support of emerging technologies. Learn more about FPF by visiting

About Immuta
Immuta was founded in 2014 based on a mission within the U.S. Intelligence Community to build a platform that accelerates self-service access and control of sensitive data. Immuta’s award-winning Automated Data Governance software platform creates trust across security, legal, compliance, and business teams so they can work together to ensure timely access to critical business data with minimal risks. Its automated, scalable, no code approach makes it easy for users to access the data they need, when they need it, while protecting sensitive data and ensuring their customers’ privacy. Immuta is headquartered in College Park, Maryland. Learn more at