Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2019/232

On Quantum Advantage in Information Theoretic Single-Server PIR

Dorit Aharonov and Zvika Brakerski and Kai-Min Chung and Ayal Green and Ching-Yi Lai and Or Sattath

Abstract: In (single-server) Private Information Retrieval (PIR), a server holds a large database $DB$ of size $n$, and a client holds an index $i \in [n]$ and wishes to retrieve $DB[i]$ without revealing $i$ to the server. It is well known that information theoretic privacy even against an ``honest but curious'' server requires $\Omega(n)$ communication complexity. This is true even if quantum communication is allowed and is due to the ability of such an adversarial server to execute the protocol on a superposition of databases instead of on a specific database (``input purification attack''). Nevertheless, there have been some proposals of protocols that achieve sub-linear communication and appear to provide some notion of privacy. Most notably, a protocol due to Le Gall (ToC 2012) with communication complexity $O(\sqrt{n})$, and a protocol by Kerenidis et al. (QIC 2016) with communication complexity $O(\log(n))$, and $O(n)$ shared entanglement.

We show that, in a sense, input purification is the only potent adversarial strategy, and protocols such as the two protocols above are secure in a restricted variant of the quantum honest but curious (a.k.a specious) model. More explicitly, we propose a restricted privacy notion called \emph{anchored privacy}, where the adversary is forced to execute on a classical database (i.e. the execution is anchored to a classical database). We show that for measurement-free protocols, anchored security against honest adversarial servers implies anchored privacy even against specious adversaries. Finally, we prove that even with (unlimited) pre-shared entanglement it is impossible to achieve security in the standard specious model with sub-linear communication, thus further substantiating the necessity of our relaxation. This lower bound may be of independent interest (in particular recalling that PIR is a special case of Fully Homomorphic Encryption).

Category / Keywords: quantum complexity, private information retrieval, specious security

Date: received 27 Feb 2019, last revised 1 Mar 2019

Contact author: zvika brakerski at weizmann ac il

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Version: 20190301:110601 (All versions of this report)

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