We propose and implement a Privacy-preserving Federated Learning (PPFL)
framework for mobile systems to limit privacy leakages in federated learning.
Leveraging the widespread presence of Trusted Execution Environments (TEEs) in
high-end and mobile devices, we utilize TEEs on clients for local training, and
on servers for secure aggregation, so that model/gradient updates are hidden
from adversaries. Challenged by the limited memory size of current TEEs, we
leverage greedy layer-wise training to train each model’s layer inside the
trusted area until its convergence. The performance evaluation of our
implementation shows that PPFL can significantly improve privacy while
incurring small system overheads at the client-side. In particular, PPFL can
successfully defend the trained model against data reconstruction, property
inference, and membership inference attacks. Furthermore, it can achieve
comparable model utility with fewer communication rounds (0.54x) and a similar
amount of network traffic (1.002x) compared to the standard federated learning
of a complete model. This is achieved while only introducing up to ~15% CPU
time, ~18% memory usage, and ~21% energy consumption overhead in PPFL’s
client-side.

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