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  1. End-to-end encryption provides strong privacy protections to billions of people, but it also complicates efforts to moderate content that can seriously harm people. To address this concern, Tyagi et al. [CRYPTO 2019] introduced the concept of asymmetric message franking (AMF) so that people can report abusive content to a moderator, while otherwise retaining end-to-end privacy by default and compatibility with anonymous communication systems like Signal’s sealed sender. In this work, we provide a new construction for asymmetric message franking called Hecate that is faster, more secure, and introduces additional functionality compared to Tyagi et al. First, our construction uses fewer invocations of standardized crypto primitives and operates in the plain model. Second, on top of AMF’s accountability and deniability requirements, we also add forward and backward secrecy. Third, we combine AMF with source tracing, another approach to content moderation that has previously been considered only in the setting of non-anonymous networks. Source tracing allows for messages to be forwarded, and a report only identifies the original source who created a message. To provide anonymity for senders and forwarders, we introduce a model of AMF with preprocessing whereby every client authenticates with the moderator out-of-band to receive a token that theymore »later consume when sending a message anonymously.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. Private Information Retrieval (PIR) allows several clients to query a database held by one or more servers, such that the contents of their queries remain private. Prior PIR schemes have achieved sublinear communication and computation by leveraging computational assumptions, federating trust among many servers, relaxing security to permit differentially private leakage, refactoring effort into an offline stage to reduce online costs, or amortizing costs over a large batch of queries. In this work, we present an efficient PIR protocol that combines all of the above techniques to achieve constant amortized communication and computation complexity in the size of the database and constant client work. We leverage differentially private leakage in order to provide better trade-offs between privacy and efficiency. Our protocol achieves speedups up to and exceeding 10x in practical settings compared to state of the art PIR protocols, and can scale to batches with hundreds of millions of queries on cheap commodity AWS machines. Our protocol builds upon a new secret sharing scheme that is both incremental and non-malleable, which may be of interest to a wider audience. Our protocol provides security up to abort against malicious adversaries that can corrupt all but one party.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  3. Software applications that employ secure multi-party computation (MPC) can empower individuals and organizations to benefit from privacy-preserving data analyses when data sharing is encumbered by confidentiality concerns, legal constraints, or corporate policies. MPC is already being incorporated into software solutions in some domains; however, individual use cases do not fully convey the variety, extent, and complexity of the opportunities of MPC. This position paper articulates a role-based perspective that can provide some insight into how future research directions, infrastructure development and evaluation approaches, and deployment practices for MPC may evolve. Drawing on our own lessons from existing real-world deployments and the fundamental characteristics of MPC that make it a compelling technology, we propose a role-based conceptual framework for describing MPC deployment scenarios. Our framework acknowledges and leverages a novel assortment of roles that emerge from the fundamental ways in which MPC protocols support federation of functionalities and responsibilities. Defining these roles using the new opportunities for federation that MPC enables in turn can help identify and organize the capabilities, concerns, incentives, and trade-offs that affect the entities (software engineers, government regulators, corporate executives, end-users, and others) that participate in an MPC deployment scenario. This framework can not only guide themore »development of an ecosystem of modular and composable MPC tools, but can make explicit some of the opportunities that researchers and software engineers (and any organizations they form) have to differentiate and specialize the artifacts and services they choose to design, develop, and deploy. We demonstrate how this framework can be used to describe existing MPC deployment scenarios, how new opportunities in a scenario can be observed by disentangling roles inhabited by the involved parties, and how this can motivate the development of MPC libraries and software tools that specialize not by application domain but by role.« less
  4. An essential component of initiatives that aim to address pervasive inequalities of any kind is the ability to collect empirical evidence of both the status quo baseline and of any improvement that can be attributed to prescribed and deployed interventions. Unfortunately, two substantial barriers can arise preventing the collection and analysis of such empirical evidence: (1) the sensitive nature of the data itself and (2) a lack of technical sophistication and infrastructure available to both an initiative’s beneficiaries and to those spearheading it. In the last few years, it has been shown that a cryptographic primitive called secure multi-party computation (MPC) can provide a natural technological resolution to this conundrum. MPC allows an otherwise disinterested third party to contribute its technical expertise and resources, to avoid incurring any additional liabilities itself, and (counterintuitively) to reduce the level of data exposure that existing parties must accept to achieve their data analysis goals. However, achieving these benefits requires the deliberate design of MPC tools and frameworks whose level of accessibility to non-technical users with limited infrastructure and expertise is state-of-the-art. We describe our own experiences designing, implementing, and deploying such usable web applications for secure data analysis within the context of twomore »real-world initiatives that focus on promoting economic equality.« less