Paper 2018/555

Limits on the Power of Garbling Techniques for Public-Key Encryption

Sanjam Garg, Mohammad Hajiabadi, Mohammad Mahmoody, and Ameer Mohammed


Understanding whether public-key encryption can be based on one-way functions is a fundamental open problem in cryptography. The seminal work of Impagliazzo and Rudich [STOC'89] shows that black-box constructions of public-key encryption from one-way functions are impossible. However, this impossibility result leaves open the possibility of using non-black-box techniques for achieving this goal. One of the most powerful classes of non-black-box techniques, which can be based on one-way functions (OWFs) alone, is Yao's garbled circuit technique [FOCS'86]. As for the non-black-box power of this technique, the recent work of Dottling and Garg [CRYPTO'17] shows that the use of garbling allows us to circumvent known black-box barriers in the context of identity-based encryption. We prove that garbling of circuits that have OWF (or even random oracle) gates in them are insufficient for obtaining public-key encryption. Additionally, we show that this model also captures (non-interactive) zero-knowledge proofs for relations with OWF gates. This indicates that currently known OWF-based non-black-box techniques are perhaps insufficient for realizing public-key encryption.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published by the IACR in CRYPTO 2018
Public-key encryptionone-way functionblack-box constructionsnon-black-box separationsgarbling schemes
Contact author(s)
sanjamg @ berkeley edu
mdhajiabadi @ berkeley edu
mohammad @ virginia edu
am8zv @ virginia edu
2018-06-04: received
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Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Sanjam Garg and Mohammad Hajiabadi and Mohammad Mahmoody and Ameer Mohammed},
      title = {Limits on the Power of Garbling Techniques for Public-Key Encryption},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2018/555},
      year = {2018},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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