Paper 2015/255

A comprehensive analysis of game-based ballot privacy definitions

David Bernhard, Veronique Cortier, David Galindo, Olivier Pereira, and Bogdan Warinschi


We critically survey game-based security definitions for the privacy of voting schemes. In addition to known limitations, we unveil several previously unnoticed shortcomings. Surprisingly, the conclusion of our study is that none of the existing definitions is satisfactory: they either provide only weak guarantees, or can be applied only to a limited class of schemes, or both. Based on our findings, we propose a new game-based definition of privacy which we call BPRIV. We also identify a new property which we call {\em strong consistency}, needed to express that tallying does not leak sensitive information. We validate our security notions by showing that BPRIV, strong consistency (and an additional simple property called strong correctness) for a voting scheme imply its security in a simulation-based sense. This result also yields a proof technique for proving entropy-based notions of privacy which offer the strongest security guarantees but are hard to prove directly: first prove your scheme BPRIV, strongly consistent (and correct),then study the entropy-based privacy of the result function of the election, which is a much easier task.

Available format(s)
Cryptographic protocols
Publication info
Published elsewhere. MAJOR revision.IEEE S&P 2015
electronic votingballot privacy
Contact author(s)
david galindo @ scytl com
2015-03-19: last of 2 revisions
2015-03-19: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {David Bernhard and Veronique Cortier and David Galindo and Olivier Pereira and Bogdan Warinschi},
      title = {A comprehensive analysis of game-based ballot privacy definitions},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2015/255},
      year = {2015},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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