Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2013/620

Do I know you? -- Efficient and Privacy-Preserving Common Friend-Finder Protocols and Applications

Marcin Nagy, Emiliano De Cristofaro, Alexandra Dmitrienko, N. Asokan, Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi

Abstract: The increasing penetration of Online Social Networks (OSNs) prompts the need for effectively accessing and utilizing social networking information. In numerous applications, users need to make trust and/or access control decisions involving other (possibly stranger) users, and one important factor is often the existence of common social relationships. This motivates the need for secure and privacy-preserving techniques allowing users to assess whether or not they have mutual friends.

This paper introduces the Common Friends service, a framework for finding common friends which protects privacy of non-mutual friends and guarantees authenticity of friendships. First, we present a generic construction that reduces to secure computation of set intersection, while ensuring authenticity of announced friends via bearer capabilities. Then, we propose an efficient instantiation, based on Bloom filters, that only incurs a constant number of public-key operations and appreciably low communication overhead. Our software is designed so that developers can easily integrate Common Friends into their applications, e.g., to enforce access control based on users' social proximity in a privacy-preserving manner. Finally, we showcase our techniques in the context of an existing application for sharing (tethered) Internet access, whereby users decide to share access depending on the existence of common friends. A comprehensive experimental evaluation attests to the practicality of proposed techniques.

Category / Keywords: applications / Privacy enhancing technologies, social networks, access control

Original Publication (with minor differences): ACSAC'13

Date: received 26 Sep 2013, last revised 26 Sep 2013

Contact author: me at emilianodc com

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Note: A preliminary version of this paper appears in ACSAC'13 -- this is the full version

Version: 20130927:124640 (All versions of this report)

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