Paper 2017/952

Secure Two-Party Computation with Fairness -- A Necessary Design Principle

Yehuda Lindell and Tal Rabin


Protocols for secure two-party computation enable a pair of mutually distrustful parties to carry out a joint computation of their private inputs without revealing anything but the output. One important security property that has been considered is that of fairness which guarantees that if one party learns the output then so does the other. In the case of two-party computation, fairness is not always possible, and in particular two parties cannot fairly toss a coin (Cleve, 1986). Despite this, it is actually possible to securely compute many two-party functions with fairness (Gordon et al., 2008 and follow-up work). However, all two-party protocols known that achieve fairness have the unique property that the effective input of the corrupted party is determined at an arbitrary point in the protocol. This is in stark contrast to almost all other known protocols that have an explicit fixed round at which the inputs are committed. In this paper, we ask whether or not the property of not having an input committal round is inherent for achieving fairness for two parties. In order to do so, we revisit the definition of security of Micali and Rogaway (Technical report, 1992), that explicitly requires the existence of such a committal round. We adapt the definition of Canetti in the two-party setting to incorporate the spirit of a committal round, and show that under such a definition, it is impossible to achieve fairness for any non-constant two-party function. This result deepens our understanding as to the type of protocol construction that is needed for achieving fairness. In addition, our result discovers a fundamental difference between the definition of security of Micali and Rogaway and that of Canetti (Journal of Cryptology, 2000) which has become the standard today. Specifically, many functions can be securely computed with fairness under the definition of Canetti but no non-constant function can be securely computed with fairness under the definition of Micali and Rogaway.

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Publication info
Published by the IACR in TCC 2017
secure computationfairnessdefinitions of security
Contact author(s)
lindell @ biu ac il
talr @ us ibm com
2017-09-27: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Yehuda Lindell and Tal Rabin},
      title = {Secure Two-Party Computation with Fairness -- A Necessary Design Principle},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2017/952},
      year = {2017},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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