Paper 2020/1546

Privacy-Preserving Epidemiological Modeling on Mobile Graphs

Daniel Günther, TU Darmstadt
Marco Holz, TU Darmstadt
Benjamin Judkewitz, Charité-Universitätsmedizin
Helen Möllering, TU Darmstadt
Benny Pinkas, Bar-Ilan University
Thomas Schneider, TU Darmstadt
Ajith Suresh, TU Darmstadt

Over the last two years, governments all over the world have used a variety of containment measures to control the spread of COVID-19, such as contact tracing, social distance regulations, and curfews. Epidemiological simulations are commonly used to assess the impact of those policies before they are implemented in actuality. Unfortunately, their predictive accuracy is hampered by the scarcity of relevant empirical data, concretely detailed social contact graphs. As this data is inherently privacy-critical, there is an urgent need for a method to perform powerful epidemiological simulations on real-world contact graphs without disclosing sensitive information. In this work, we present RIPPLE, a privacy-preserving epidemiological modeling framework that enables the execution of a wide range of standard epidemiological models for any infectious disease on a population's most recent real contact graph while keeping all contact information private locally on the participants' devices. In this regard, we also present PIR-SUM, a novel extension to private information retrieval that allows users to securely download the sum of a set of elements from a database rather than individual elements. Our theoretical constructs are supported by a proof-of-concept implementation in which we show that a 2-week simulation over a population of half a million can be finished in 7 minutes with each participant consuming less than 50 KB of data.

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Publication info
Decentralized Epidemiological Modeling Privacy Private Information Retrieval COVID-19
Contact author(s)
guenther @ encrypto cs tu-darmstadt de
holz @ encrypto cs tu-darmstadt de
benjamin judkewitz @ charite de
moellering @ encrypto cs tu-darmstadt de
benny @ pinkas net
schneider @ encrypto cs tu-darmstadt de
suresh @ encrypto cs tu-darmstadt de
2022-06-01: last of 5 revisions
2020-12-13: received
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      author = {Daniel Günther and Marco Holz and Benjamin Judkewitz and Helen Möllering and Benny Pinkas and Thomas Schneider and Ajith Suresh},
      title = {Privacy-Preserving Epidemiological Modeling on Mobile Graphs},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2020/1546},
      year = {2020},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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