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  4. Most permissionless blockchain networks run on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, which offer flexibility and decentralization at the expense of performance (e.g., network latency). Historically, this tradeoff has not been a bottleneck for most blockchains. However, an emerging host of blockchain-based applications (e.g., decentralized finance) are increasingly sensitive to latency; users who can reduce their network latency relative to other users can accrue (sometimes significant) financial gains. In this work, we initiate the study of strategic latency reduction in blockchain P2P networks. We first define two classes of latency that are of interest in blockchain applications. We then show empirically that a strategic agent who controls only their local peering decisions can manipulate both types of latency, achieving 60% of the global latency gains provided by the centralized, paid service bloXroute, or, in targeted scenarios, comparable gains. Finally, we show that our results are not due to the poor design of existing P2P networks. Under a simple network model, we theoretically prove that an adversary can always manipulate the P2P network's latency to their advantage, provided the network experiences sufficient peer churn and transaction activity. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 19, 2024
  5. There are a number of forums where people participate under pseudonyms. One example is peer review, where the identity of reviewers for any paper is confidential. When participating in these forums, people frequently engage in "batching": executing multiple related tasks (e.g., commenting on multiple papers) at nearly the same time. Our empirical analysis shows that batching is common in two applications we consider -- peer review and Wikipedia edits. In this paper, we identify and address the risk of deanonymization arising from linking batched tasks. To protect against linkage attacks, we take the approach of adding delay to the posting time of batched tasks. We first show that under some natural assumptions, no delay mechanism can provide a meaningful differential privacy guarantee. We therefore propose a "one-sided" formulation of differential privacy for protecting against linkage attacks. We design a mechanism that adds zero-inflated uniform delay to events and show it can preserve privacy. We prove that this noise distribution is in fact optimal in minimizing expected delay among mechanisms adding independent noise to each event, thereby establishing the Pareto frontier of the trade-off between the expected delay for batched and unbatched events. Finally, we conduct a series of experiments on Wikipedia and Bitcoin data that corroborate the practical utility of our algorithm in obfuscating batching without introducing onerous delay to a system. 
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    Abusive language is a massive problem in online social platforms. Existing abusive language detection techniques are particularly ill-suited to comments containing heterogeneous abusive language patterns, i.e., both abusive and non-abusive parts. This is due in part to the lack of datasets that explicitly annotate heterogeneity in abusive language. We tackle this challenge by providing an annotated dataset of abusive language in over 11,000 comments from YouTube. We account for heterogeneity in this dataset by separately annotating both the comment as a whole and the individual sentences that comprise each comment. We then propose an algorithm that uses a supervised attention mechanism to detect and categorize abusive content using multi-task learning. We empirically demonstrate the challenges of using traditional techniques on heterogeneous content and the comparative gains in performance of the proposed approach over state-of-the-art methods. 
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